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Judge orders release of frozen account funds

By TIMES WIRES
Published May 19, 2007


DADE CITY

A judge this week ordered the disbursement of $675, 000 seized in the investigation of a downtown Mexican general store owner.

Jose Frias, who was arrested in March, faces a racketeering charge after a two-year investigation in which authorities said Frias filtered millions of dollars through his check-cashing business.

He could have faced up to 10 years in prison if convicted in a trial, but the criminal case is headed for a plea agreement with no jail time, according to prosecutors and Frias' attorney.

What's happening to the money?

The order signed this week by Circuit Judge Wayne Cobb and agreed to by all parties awards $525, 000 to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office and $75, 000 to Frias' two attorneys, leaving just $75, 000 in a Wachovia Bank account that had been frozen while the case was pending.