For a guy who doesn't believe in restoring felons' voting rights, Mitt Romney sure likes to associate with accused criminals when he comes to Miami.
Back in August, Romney held a rally at a popular Coral Gables fruit juice stand owned by convicted coke trafficker Reinaldo Bermudez.
On Wednesday, when Romney waltzed on stage for Univision's "Meet the Candidate" event at the University of Miami, he made sure to say hi to audience members Fausto and Remedios Diaz Oliver, a wealthy Miami couple who were criminally charged with tax evasion and customs fraud by the federal government in 1997.
Lucky for Mittens, Remedios can still cast a ballot for him since she only pled guilty to criminal misdemeanors. In fact, she is playing a prominent role in the GOP candidate's efforts to court Hispanic voters as one of the 13 members of Florida's Juntos Con Romney leadership committee. According to OpenSecrets.org, Remedios has contributed $2,500 to Romney's presidential campaign.
But 15 years ago, a federal indictment charged Remedios, her hubby, a family friend and that friend's ex-husband of evading federal income taxes and dodging custom duties. The quartet owned a food importing business accused of producing phony expenses to hide about $456,000 from the Internal Revenue Service between 1988 and 1993. They also allegedly submitted phony invoices to U.S. Customs to deflate the true value of goods brought into the United States from Spain for $5.3 million to $2.8 million.
The Diaz Olivers, who own Miami-based bottle and container supplier All-American Containers, denied having any interest in the importing business, but the indictment said the couple "participated in the creation, operation and management of Spanish Foods." The feds also claimed the Diaz Olivers owned 24.5 percent of the company through their two children.
In 1999, Remedios pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges of accessory after the fact to tax evasion and customs fraud. She avoided going to prison and received three years probation. Fausto, on the other hand, pled to one felony count each of tax evasion and customs fraud.
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Her plea deal allowed Remedios to remain actively involved in Republican electioneering efforts. Within days of accepting her plea, she was listed as a member of a host committee for a George W. Bush fundraiser for his 2000 presidential campaign. She was credited with being one of 37 people who each raised about $25,000 for the Texas governor.