Florida judge denies divorce; says couple committed fraud
It is exceedingly rare for a divorce petition to be denied in Florida, but that is what has happened to a Boca Raton couple recently. The judge in the case ruled that the couple was attempting to use the divorce court as a way to commit tax fraud, and wished that he could put each spouse in jail.
The couple’s divorce case went to trial in November. In that trial and in written statements admitted to the court, the spouses reportedly admitted that they embezzled money from the auto repair shop they own and hid income from the IRS.
Describing their behavior as “an amazing display [of] chutzpah,” the judge said the evidence did not support the couple’s contention that their marriage was irrevocably broken. He noted that they are still living together, and said their actions during trial did not support that contention.
In fact, the judge believes that the “divorce” was in fact an attempt to avoid paying income taxes. The wife was only upset that she did not get enough money from their scheme, the judge charged. He said in his order that he hoped “appropriate agencies” would pursue criminal charges against the husband and wife.
The wife’s attorney denied that his client was defrauding the court. He said the wife was not involved in the repair shop’s tax evasion and did not deserve to be punished for any criminal activity on her husband’s part. She plans to appeal.
Many observers said that this opinion may be unique in Florida family court history.
Source: Gossip Extra, “Judge to Divorcing Boca Raton Couple: I Sentence You to Staying Married!” Jose Lambiet, Nov. 29, 2013