Former South Florida cops sentenced to prison for gun dealing, tax evasion

01/09/2014 6:51 PM

01/09/2014 7:00 PM

A husband-and-wife pair of South Florida cops was sentenced to prison Thursday for illegally dealing in stolen guns and filing false tax returns

U.S. Judge Donald Middlebrooks sentenced ex-Golden Beach Officer Tammy Valdes to 3 1/2 years of federal prison. Her husband, former Hialeah Officer Rafael Valdes, got five years prison.

A federal jury convicted the Valdeses in October. Federal prosecutors said the husband and wife had a lucrative but illegal side business selling firearms at South Florida gun shows. The income went unreported to the IRS.

The couple’ defense was that they were fervent gun enthusiasts who didn’t realize their activities were illegal.

The sentence was considerably less than what they could have faced. The government sought to put away Rafael Valdes for 10 years, Tammy for 7 1/2.

The couple is considering an appeal of the guilty verdict. “Under the circumstances, the sentence was fair,” said their defense lawyer, Michael Feiler.

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