13 July – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – R. Alexander Acosta…

13 July – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, John C. Richter, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division, Michael S. Clemens, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Brian J. Wimpling, Special Agent in Charge, Miami Field Office, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, announced today that defendant, John L. “Jack” London, a former Monroe County Mayor, plead guilty before Senior United States District Court Judge Shelby Highsmith to charges that he subscribed a false tax return, in violation of Title 26, United States Code, Section 7206(1). The defendant faces a statutory maximum sentence of three (3) years’ imprisonment and a $100,000 fine on the false tax return charge. The sentencing hearing is presently scheduled for October 21, 2005, before Judge Highsmith.

London was a Commissioner serving on the Board of County Commissioners for Monroe County (BOCC) from 1990 through 1998. From 1996 through 1998, he was also the Mayor of Monroe County.

The circumstances underlying London’s guilty plea involve his dealings with Marvin Rappaport, the prior owner of Halls Resort, a land development project located in Monroe County, Florida. In or around 1996, extensive renovations were necessary to complete and commence operation of Halls Resort. This required the issuance of several building and zoning permits from the BOCC. Rappaport made several attempts to have his applications for permits placed on the agenda of the BOCC for their consideration but was unsuccessful each time.

In or around the Spring of 1996, London informed Rappaport that he should obtain the assistance of Randall Hilliard, a political consultant who specialized in land use matters. Both Hilliard and London then secretly agreed to share any fee that Hilliard received from Rappaport for his services. Shortly thereafter, Rappaport met with Hilliard to discuss the “political problem” that had halted the BOCC’s consideration of the issuance of building and zoning permits for Halls Resort.

From approximately April 1996 through August 1996, Rappaport paid Hilliard $75,000 to secure approval by the BOCC for the issuance of building permits for Halls Resort. On or about June 19, 1996, the building permits and plans for Halls Resort were approved by the BOCC without further hindrance.

On or about December 5, 1997, Hilliard caused three cashier’s checks, totaling $29,000, to be delivered overseas to an Irish law firm to satisfy a lien that had been placed on real property owned by London. The $29,000 payment was to satisfy the terms of the secret deal Hilliard and London made with regard to the Halls Resort project. The Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, determined that London did not claim the $29,000 as income on his U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, Form 1040, for the calendar year 1997. This fraudulent omission resulted in a $9,000 tax loss.

“Law Enforcement agencies in South Florida must stand united in opposing, investigating and prosecuting Public Corruption matters,” said Mr. Acosta. “This Office will aggressively prosecute Public Corruption cases.”

Mr. Acosta commended the investigative efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Christopher J. Clark and Brenda K. Morris, Deputy Chief the Public Integrity Section, United States Department of Justice.

A copy of all press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls . Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on .

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