MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A judge dismissed fraud and theft charges against a man accused of using county money for a giant watermelon statue.

The case against Raul Masvidal, 72, began seven years ago when he allegedly spent $150,000 dollars for the statue, known as Mars, for his own personal use CBS4 news partner, The Miami Herald reported.

Defense attorneys argued that the statute of limitations on most of the charges had run out — and that the disputed money did not actually belong to the county.

Masvidal is a former banker, philanthropist one-time Miami mayoral candidate.

Friday’s decision was the final blow to the prosecution’s case.  In October, 2011, Judge Dennis Murphy, the same judge presiding in the Masvidal case, threw out charges against Juan Delgado.

Delgado was a construction magnate accused of submitting phony invoices for work never done and he was accused of providing Masvidal the receipt for the watermelon art.

Read more.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed material for this report.)



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