17 August 2004 Legal news, law news, law firm news & research at LAWFUEL Marcos Daniel Jiménez, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; Brian Wimpling, Special Agent-in-Charge, of the Internal Revenue Service; and Michael P. Driscoll, Special Agent Supervisor, of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, announced that yesterday, defendant, Roberto Rego, Jr., pleaded guilty to two (2) counts of a Superseding Indictment before United States District Court Judge Donald M. Middlebrooks in West Palm Beach, Florida. Rego, a former Miami-Dade police officer, pleaded guilty to one (1) count of bankruptcy fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 152(1), and one (1) count of tax evasion, in violation of Title 26, United States Code, Section 7201. Rego’s sentencing is scheduled for October 28, 2004. Rego faces a maximum of statutory sentence of five (5) years on each count and a maximum fine of $250,000, as well as the payment of restitution and the costs of prosecution as to the tax evasion count.
Rego’s co-defendant, Ester M. Brandon, who was named in the Information that preceded the Superseding Indictment, previously pleaded guilty to one (1) count of income tax evasion, in violation of Title 26, United States Code, Section 7201, and is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Middlebrooks in West Palm Beach on September 7, 2004.
“Persons who cheat the federal income tax and bankruptcy systems steal from all of us through their illegal schemes” said Mr. Jiménez. “We will pursue all remedies against those who attempt to achieve these illegal gains.”
In accordance with statements made in court, Rego was a principal in Cabrera & Rego, Enterprises, Inc. and was the de facto head of E.M. Brandon, Inc., two Palm Beach County-based companies that specialized in aggregate hauling and lumber grinding, respectively.
On September 22, 1998, the two companies filed with the Bankruptcy Court petitions for relief under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code. From between in and about September 1998 and April 2000, Rego proceeded to defraud creditors and the United States Bankruptcy Court of approximately $2.4 million dollars through schemes in which he embezzled substantial amounts of monies from Allied Trucking, Inc. (“Allied”), a Miami-based trucking company which worked with Rego while Rego’s companies were in bankruptcy. Rego also concealed income from the bankruptcies of the Cabrera & Rego, Enterprises, Inc. and E.M. Brandon, Inc. and falsified the expenses of those companies. Rego evaded more than $400,000 in income taxes on the monies he diverted.
Pursuant to the terms of the plea agreement, Rego agreed to admit to violating the terms of supervised release imposed by him by United States District Court Judge Daniel T.K. Hurley in the case styled as United States v. Roberto Rego, Jr., Case No. 99-8186-Cr-Hurley. As a result of that case, Rego’s federal excise tax liability was established at $125,859. The conditions of the terms of Rego’s supervised release, resulting from that prior case, which Rego, pursuant to the terms of the current plea agreement, admitted to having violated were the following: that he not commit any federal, state, or local crime while on supervised release; that he provide complete access to financial information to the United States Probation Office; and that he cooperate fully with the Internal Revenue Service in determining and paying any tax liability related to the 1999 case.
Rego violated the terms of his supervised release by, among other things, endeavoring to obstruct and impede the due administration of justice, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1503, and failing to provide complete access to financial information to the United States Probation Office by failing to disclose to the United States Probation Office the existence of a $702,000 judgment against him in the case styled as General Electric Capital Corporation v. Roberto Rego, Jr., et al., Case No. 99-8124-Civ-Middlebrooks; by failing to disclose to the United States Pretrial Services the existence of that judgment for purposes of setting his bond in the current case; and by corruptly obstructing the garnishment of his wages in violation of specific court orders entered in the civil case.
Mr. Jiménez commended the investigative efforts of the Internal Revenue Service and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys John S. Kastrenakes and Carolyn Bell.