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Ramos hopes 1989 theft plea doesn’t lead to “ugly” politics

by George Bennett | July 23rd, 2009

Saying he doesn’t want to be the victim of “ugly” politics in the final days of a special state Senate election campaign, Democrat Bill Ramos today volunteered information about a 1989 guilty plea for theft when he was a young postal worker.

Ramos

Ramos

Ramos, a Jensen Beach mortgage broker, is running against former Republican state Rep. Joe Negron of Stuart in an Aug. 4 election to replace retiring Sen. Ken Pruitt, R-Port St. Lucie.

Ramos, 50, said he’s never tried to hide his past scrape with the law.

In a biographical entry on his campaign Web site, Ramos says that “almost 25 years ago, I was accused of theft by a trusted superior. Innocent, under pressure, and unable to afford an attorney, I was forced to accept a no contest plea to having taken money from my workplace.”

Ramos said a superior at a post office where he worked in eastern Pennsylvania told him it was OK to borrow $50 in petty cash if he agreed to replace it before his next payday. Before he could repay the money, Ramos says, he got blamed for more than $4,000 in missing money.

A federal court document provided by Ramos shows he pleaded guilty in 1989 to embezzlement of postal funds and agreed to three years of probation and to pay $4,383 in restitution.

Ramos said he disclosed the 1989 plea when he applied for a Florida mortgage broker’s license in the 1990s.

But when he applied for a real estate license in 2003, Ramos checked “No” on a form asking if he had ever “been convicted of a crime, found guilty, or entered a plea of guilty or nolo contendre (no contest).”

Ramos said he checked “No” because he believed when he agreed to the 1989 plea that his record would be clear after 10 years.

“I thought I was outside that 10-year window and it was expunged from my record,” Ramos said.

When the state Department of Business and Professional Regulation learned of the guilty plea in 2006, it suspended Ramos’ real estate license for five years.

Ramos said he made an honest mistake in not disclosing the guilty plea on his real estate license application. He says he accepts responsibility for the original incident.

“At the end of it all, I should never have trusted the guy and taken the 50 bucks under any circumstances. I make no excuse for the mistake,” Ramos said today.

He said he hopes voters recognize that “20 years ago does not tell you who a person is now.”

Negron said he became aware of the issue a few months ago from Ramos’ Web site, but hasn’t brought it up.

“It’s a matter between him and the voters. I’ve never talked about it,” Negron said.

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4 Responses to “Ramos hopes 1989 theft plea doesn’t lead to “ugly” politics”

  1. Dave Dew Says:

    This information has been on Bill’s website for 3 years. The fact that he was caught in this well set up trap and unable to afford a good defense for himself is, as he has told me, one of the major reasons that he got into politics in the first place. It had a great impact on his personality. The “legal system” doesn’t work for the poor and we all know that. Just look at the population in our jails and our public defense system disgrace here in this judicial district and it’s pretty evident. It’s lifes adversities that form a real personality. Bill’s unfortunate run in with the law 20 years ago is part of him now. It’s some of what energizes and motivates him to work fot the little guy in our society. It’s Bill’s hope that he will actually be in a position in Tallahasse to change things in Florida.

  2. Eric Says:

    This guy’s a natural for political service! Especially in Flori-duh. LOL

  3. PSLRES Says:

    Still voting Ramos. 25 years is a long time ago. Those of us that know him, know the story. He hasn’t hidden it for years. So why bring it up now?

    Negron is scared, released it to whomever he had to to get it out, and there you go. Senate seat handed over on a silver platter.

    Negron has a lot of favors to repay.

  4. Post On Politics » Blog Archive » Post on Politics - Says:

    [...] Jensen Beach mortgage broker today volunteered information about a 1989 guilty plea for theft when he was a young postal [...]

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