Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Feds file tax charges against former Port Richey mayor

The U.S. Attorney's Office has filed criminal charges against former Port Richey mayor Richard Rober and his wife, Averill, alleging the couple conspired to defraud the federal government by hiding income from the IRS.

The charges came as no surprise: Rober announced his resignation March 28, citing the intensifying inquiry into his unpaid taxes. The couple's attorney said then he expected charges within a few weeks.

In documents filed Friday and released Monday, the U.S. Attorney's Office said the Robers diverted money from the water testing and treatment company they used to own, Gator Water and Wastewater Management Inc., into a separate account at SunTrust Bank. The couple under-reported more than $239,000 from 2005 to 2007, with unpaid taxes exceeding $55,000.

"They both used these proceeds for personal purposes and purposely failed to inform the accountants who prepared their tax returns of these monies," the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a press release.

The alleged scheme first came to light in 2009, when a lawsuit was filed between the Robers and Florida Utility Group, the company that bought Gator Water. Florida Utility Group accused the Robers of siphoning company money into a personal fund and spending it on family finances, the couple's Hummer and repairs for their boat. The lawsuit is still pending.

Douglas de Vlaming, the Clearwater attorney representing the Robers, said the couple agreed not to fight the criminal charges. In exchange, prosecutors waived the indictment process, instead filing charges without taking the Robers into custody.

The couple will report to court for their first hearing in about two weeks and plan to plead guilty then, de Vlaming said.

"Both Mr. and Mrs. Rober are taking full responsibility for their actions," de Vlaming said Monday.

Rober, 52, declined to comment on Monday.

Once the Robers enter their plea, authorities will conduct a pre-sentencing investigation to recommend a punishment, a process that could take a couple of months, de Vlaming said.

The charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

Feds file tax charges against former Port Richey mayor 04/16/12 [Last modified: Monday, April 16, 2012 9:29pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Navy expected to relieve admiral in charge of 7th Fleet in response to deadly disasters at sea


    The Navy will relieve the senior admiral in charge of the service's 7th Fleet based in Japan in response to four embarrassing accidents this year, two of which killed sailors at sea, two U.S. officials said.

    Tugboats assist the guided-missile destroyer John S. McCain on its way to Changi Naval Base in Singapore on Monday. [U.S. Navy]
  2. Trump chides media over Charlottesville


    President Donald Trump is blaming the media for the widespread condemnation of his response to a Charlottesville, Va., protest organized by white supremacists that led to the killing of a counter-protester.

    Trump met service members before the rally.
  3. Jones: Koetter-Winston exchange highlights latest 'Hard Knocks'


    There are certain things that make HBO's Hard Knocks must-see television.

    Jameis Winston, left, has an exchange with Dirk Koetter that highlights Hard Knocks.
  4. Rays are full of ideas they'd like to share when commissioner visits

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Commissioner Rob Manfred is coming to the Trop today. Hmm. Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg will be there to greet him. Hmmmm. And they have a scheduled joint media session. Hmmmmmmmmm.

    Commissioner Rob Manfred isn’t expected to say anything definitive about the Rays’ stadium situation when he visits the team today.
  5. Mayor Rick Kriseman endorsed by another police union


    ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman is already backed by the city's largest police union, the Suncoast Police Benevolent Association.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman has secured another police union endorsement