Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Former Port Richey mayor, wife begin serving prison sentence for tax evasion

Former Port Richey Mayor Richard Rober knew there would be a price to pay for breaking the law. Their lawyer says they acknowledge their guilt.

Courtesy of Baynews9

Former Port Richey Mayor Richard Rober knew there would be a price to pay for breaking the law. Their lawyer says they acknowledge their guilt.

PORT RICHEY — Former Mayor Richard Rober and his wife, Averill, have begun serving their six-month federal prison sentences for tax fraud.

Earlier this month, Richard Rober, 52, arrived at the Estill Federal Correctional Institution in South Carolina. Averill Rober, 47, reported Wednesday to a federal prison in Coleman, a small town in north Sumter County, according to the couple's attorney, Douglas deVlaming.

Richard Rober is scheduled to be released on April 2, while a release date for his wife has not yet been set. Both are held in medium security facilities, according to U.S. Bureau of Prisons records.

"Their spirits are as good as can be expected based on what's happened in their lives. It's going to be very difficult to dig out from the ashes," de­Vlaming said. "But their position has been the same since the first day I met them: 'What we did is wrong and we are willing to pay for it.' So that is what they are doing."

In addition to prison, a federal judge sentenced the couple in August to six months of house arrest and three years of supervised release on a charge each of conspiracy to defraud the federal government by hiding more than $239,000 from the Internal Revenue Service.

U.S. District Judge James Moody also ordered the couple to pay $55,305 in restitution to the IRS. The Robers pleaded guilty to the federal tax fraud charge in May and faced up to five years in prison, although sentencing guidelines called for less time.

The Robers may be given jobs while in federal prison and any money earned would go toward their restitution, deVlaming said. He said he has not discussed with the couple whether they will return to live in Port Richey.

"We haven't really talked about that. They have lost everything, they're going to lose their home," deVlaming said.

Richard Rober resigned from the mayor's job during a March news conference at City Hall, saying federal authorities had told him that criminal charges were imminent.

The authorities 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. That income went unreported from 2005 to 2007.

The scheme first came to light in a 2009 lawsuit between the Robers and Florida Utility Group, the company that bought Gator Water. The Robers accused Florida Utility of not making the final payment in its purchase of Gator Water. Florida Utility 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 legal battle is pending, but the Robers have already signed over to the IRS any funds they may obtain in the civil case, de­Vlaming said in August.

Former Port Richey mayor, wife begin serving prison sentence for tax evasion 10/25/12 [Last modified: Thursday, October 25, 2012 8:59pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Hernando teacher faces sexual battery charges

    Crime

    BROOKSVILLE — Deputies arrested a teacher on charges of sexual battery Tuesday, the Hernando County Sheriff's Office said.

  2. Drought forces tougher watering restrictions on Tampa Bay

    Water

    Homeowners in Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties will be limited to watering their lawns only once a week under new, tighter watering restrictions imposed Tuesday by the Southwest Florida Water Management District.

    A fallen pine tree burns and smolders in a section of pine flatwoods earlier this month in the Starkey Wilderness Preserve in Pasco County. Drought conditions have helped spark wildfires across the state. Now homeowners in Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties will face tighter watering restrictions imposed Tuesday by the Southwest Florida Water Management District. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
  3. Sharing extreme views, neo-Nazis sometimes convert to radical Islam

    Crime

    It sounds like an unlikely leap of faith: a neo-Nazi converting to Islamic extremism.

    Devon Arthurs, 18, told police  he shared neo-Nazi beliefs with his roommates, Jeremy Himmelman and Andrew Oneschuk, until he converted to Islam, according to a police report .
[Tampa Police]
  4. Target Corp. reaches $18.5 million settlement with 47 states over data breach

    Retail

    Target Corp. has agreed to pay Florida $928,963 out of a newly-announced $18.5 million settlement over a huge data breach that occurred in late 2013.

    Forty-seven states and the District of Columbia have reached an $18.5 million settlement with Target Corp. to resolve the states' probe into the discounter's massive pre-Christmas data breach in 2013. 
[Associated Press]
  5. Bomb experts say materials at Tampa Palms murder scene were meant to kill

    News

    TAMPA — Easily obtainable chemicals and equipment that investigators found at the scene of a double murder in Tampa Palms were assembled for one purpose, according to explosives experts: To create an improvised explosive device that could kill people and destroy property.

    Authorities search a vehicle late Sunday in Key Largo after arresting Brandon Russell of Tampa, who is not pictured. Russell faces federal explosives charges after Tampa police investigating a double homicide found bomb materials in his Tampa Palms apartment. [Photo courtesy of Kevin Wadlow, FlKeysNews.com]