Criminal Justice News

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Former Mayor of Barceloneta Sentenced to 120 Months in Prison

SAN JUAN—Today, Sol Luis Fontanes-Olivo, former mayor of the municipality of Barceloneta, Puerto Rico, was sentenced to 120 months (10 years) in prison, a $150,000 fine, forfeiture of $60,000, and three years of supervised release, by United States District Court Judge José A. Fusté, announced Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. Fontanes-Olivo was charged for bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds.

Another co-conspirator involved in this bribery scheme was Francisco A. Pumarejo-Rodríguez, former planning director for the municipality of Barceloneta since 1993. Among Pumarejo-Rodríguez’s duties was the coordination of planning and budget matters on behalf of Barceloneta. He was sentenced on August 17, 2012, to time served and five years of probation.

Juan Antonio San Miguel and Developer A were contractors who were doing business with the municipality of Barceloneta. According to the indictment, defendants Fontanes-Olivo and Pumarejo-Rodríguez, aiding and abetting each other, being agents of the municipality of Barceloneta, did knowingly accept and agree to accept a thing of value from a person, approximately $50,000 from Developer A and $40,000 from San Miguel, both intending to be rewarded in connection with a business. The sentence for San Miguel is scheduled for October 10, 2012, at 9:30 a.m.

During previous hearings held in court, the U.S. Attorney’s Office showed audio and video recordings of Fontanes-Olivo making arrangements for payments and receiving the same. The bribe payments were picked up by Pumarejo-Rodríguez who in turn delivered the payments to Fontanes-Olivo. The payments were kickbacks corruptly solicited by the mayor in relation to the sale of properties in the municipality. The payments received by the mayor exceeded $50,000.

“This sentence reflects the serious nature of the offenses charged in this corruption case. Dishonest public officials who request illegal payments from contractors as a regular course of business do not serve the interests of their constituents,” said U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez. “We hope that this tough sentence sends a clear message that this conduct is reprehensible and carries serious consequences”.

“Public corruption is unacceptable because it undermines the faith citizens should have in their government officials, and it severely weakens the image of public service,” said Joseph Campbell, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI-San Juan Field Office. “The FBI has always encouraged individuals with information about any public corruption scheme to assist us in the fight against such an insidious threat.”

This case was investigated by the FBI and is being prosecuted by AUSA Charles Walsh.

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