Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Individual Arrested For Bulk Cash Smuggling

US Attorney's Office

San Juan

Press Release

Máximo Paredes-Suárez was indicted for bulk cash smuggling and providing
false statements to federal officials, announced U.S. Attorney for the District
of Puerto Rico, Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez. Customs and Border Protection
(CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investi-
gations (ICE-HSI) are in charge of the investigation.

On or about November 12, 2016, Máximo Paredes-Suárez, did knowingly con-
ceal more than $10,000 in currency and other monetary instruments, to wit: six-
ty-two thousand three hundred eighty-six dollars ($62,386.00) in United States
currency, in his luggage, and attempted to transport and transfer said U.S. curren-
cy and monetary instruments from the San Juan Luis Muñoz Marín International
Airport, in the District of Puerto Rico, to the Dominican Republic.

According to the indictment, the defendant willfully and knowingly made mate-
rially false, fictitious, and fraudulent statements by stating to CBP and ICE-HSI
AirAT agents that he was not transporting any currency, at the San Juan Luis Mu-
ñoz Marín International Airport, San Juan, Puerto Rico. The statement and repre-
sentation was false because, as Paredes-Suárez then and there knew, he had $62,
386.00 in United States currency concealed in his luggage at the San Juan Luis
Muñoz Marín International Airport.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Stuart Zander. The ca-
se was investigated by Customs and Border Protection officers and Homeland Se-
curity Investigations (HSI) Airport Investigations and Tactical Team (AirTAT).

The maximum penalties for these offenses are 10 years of imprisonment. An in-
dictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. Defendants are
presumed innocent unless and until convicted through due process of law.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Puerto Rico General Election Results

Winners for each race will appear in bold. Check back throughout the evening for
updates. Results are from the State Elections Commission of Puerto Rico.

Updated as of: 11/09/16,  10:12 AM AST
97.32% of precincts reporting

Governor                                                            Total Votes     Percentage    Rank  

Rafael Bernabe (Working People's Party)                 5,336                 0.3              6  
David Bernier (Popular Democratic Party)             605,646               38.9             2
Manuel Cidre (Independent)                                   89,051                5.7              4
Alexandra Lugaro (Independent)                            172,882              11.1             3
Maria de Lourdes Santiago (PR Ind. Party)             33,173                2.1              5
Ricardo Rossello (New Progressive Party)         649,569               41.8             1

Voter participation rate: 55.10%

Resident Commissioner                                     Total Votes     Percentage    Rank  

Hector Ferrer (Popular Democratic Party)             685,361                47.2             2
Jenniffer Gonzalez (New Progressive Party)     706,964                48.8             1
Mariana Nogales (Working People's Party)             18,691                  1.3             4
Hugo Rodriguez (PR Indepedence Party)               39,056                  2.7             3

Mayor of San Juan                                            Total Votes     Percentage    Rank  

Antonio Carmona (Working People's Party)                1,298               0.9                 4
Leo Diaz (New Progessive Party)                             65,163            43.7                2
Adrian Gonzalez (PR Independence Party)                4,196             2.8                  3
Carmen Yulin (Popular Democratic Party)            78,366             52.6                1

US Presidential Election                                       % of Popular Vote   Electoral Votes

Hillary Clinton (Democratic Party)                                  47.5                          218
Gary Johnson (Libertarian Party)                                     3.3                              0
Jill Stein (Green Party)                                                   1.0                              0
Donald Trump (Republican Party)                               47.7                          279

Monday, October 17, 2016


The Puerto Rico Monitor is taking a break until November 8, 2016.

We will return then with PR election results.

Thank you.

Friday, October 14, 2016

The Puerto Rico Monitor Endorses Rafael Bernabe For Governor

Puerto Rico has long been under the stranglehold of two large, corrupt political
parties, which are both in large part directly responsible for the social and econo-
mic dire straits that Puerto Rico finds itself in. The Puerto Rico Indepedence Par-
ty can no longer be seen as a viable alternative to these two parties...we need par-
ties and candidates who do not make the relationship between Puerto Rico and the
US Federal government their main reason for being. Independent "man (or woman)
on a white horse" candidates can't and won't tackle the real issues affecting middle
and working class Puerto Ricans. This is why the Puerto Rico Monitor endorses the
Working People's Party candidate Rafael Bernabe for Governor of Puerto Rico in
the 2016 election.

Dr. Bernabe's priority is to make Puerto Rico a place that works primarily for the
people who keep it running, not millionaires, industrialists, so-called investors or
corrupt machine politicians. He is the only candidate advocating for much needed
ideas like single-payer health care, a taxation system that demands fair contributi-
ons from our upper classes and economic reforms that will promote local business
over big-box-style retail and capital flight. He is also a friend of the LGBT comm-
unity and an advocate of preserving our valuable natural resources. Mr. Bernabe is
also in favor of an electoral system based on proportional representation, which
would open up our democracy to greater and more meaningful representation.

It is time to walk away from the corrupt party hacks, the hustlers, thieves and liars,
and cast a vote for the Puerto Rico that the majority sorely needs. Bernabe is not be-
holden to political party machines, donors or corporations. Regardless of your views
on Puerto Rico's political status, we encourage you take that first step by voting for
Rafael Bernabe on November 8th.

For more information, visit:

-The Editor

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Lawyer Guilty of Concealing Fugitive

U.S. Attorney's Office

San Juan

Press Release

Attorney Found Guilty Of Concealing A Fugitive From Arrest, Obstruction 
Of Justice And Tampering With Judicial Proceedings

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico– Today, after a 20-day trial and two hours of deli-
berations before U.S. District Court Senior Judge Daniel R. Domínguez, sta-
te criminal defense attorney Lemuel Velilla-Reyes was found guilty of one
count of concealing a fugitive from arrest, and two counts of mail fraud, one
count of endeavoring to obstruct, influence and impede the due administrati-
on of justice, and one count of tampering with official proceedings, announc-
ed U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico, Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vé-
lez. The investigation was led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
Public Corruption Squad.

Velilla-Reyes was indicted on September 16, 2014, for harboring and conc-
ealing from detection a person for whose arrest a warrant had been issued
under the provisions of a law of the United States on a charge of felony. He
was later indicted, along with Wilfredo Rodríguez-Rodríguez on July 9, 2015,
on charges of mail fraud, endeavoring to obstruct, influence and impede the
due administration of justice, and tampering with official proceedings.

The facts proven at trial showed that on July 14, 2011, Velilla-Reyes repre-
sented federal fugitive Wilfredo Rodríguez- Rodríguez, aka “Fredo”, aka
“Cape”, aka “Capellán”, under the false name of “Felix Otero-Torres” on lo-
cal drug and weapon charges in state court. At that time, Wilfredo Rodrígu-
ez-Rodríguez had an outstanding arrest warrant since July 14, 2010, in fede-
ral case U.S. v. José Colón-de Jesus, et. al. Crim. No. 10-251 (JAF), where
he was listed as the fifth individual in the 110-defendant indictment for par-
ticipating as a leader in a drug trafficking conspiracy to distribute controlled
substances at the Virgilio Dávila, Las Gardenias, Brisas de Bayamón, and
Falin Torrech housing projects, and other areas within the Bayamón Muni-
cipality. Velilla-Reyes was the attorney for many of the members of the drug
trafficking organization which Rodríguez-Rodríguez was a part of, and had
legally represented him in a prior criminal state case in 2006.

In the early morning hours of July 14, 2011, Police of Puerto Rico officers
arrested Rodríguez-Rodríguez in Toa Baja while they were executing state
arrest warrants. Upon his arrest, he provided the false name of Felix Otero-
Torres, and did not provide or have on his person any identification docu-

Attorney Velilla-Reyes arrived at the police station to provide legal repres-
entation for Rodríguez-Rodríguez under the false name he had provided. Ve-
lilla-Reyes stood by while the charges against his client where filed under the
 false name. He then appeared in court during the probable cause proceedings
and falsely represented to the court that his client Felix Otero-Torres could not
recall his social security number or his full address. Velilla-Reyes requested
that bail be set without electronic monitoring and told the court he would con-
tinue to represent his client throughout all the proceedings. He also vouched
for his client’s fulfillment of pre-trial release conditions and his appearance in
court. Rodríguez-Rodríguez, who was affirmatively identified during the days
that followed, did not show up at the police station for booking and did not re-
turn to any court proceeding. Velilla-Reyes continued as the attorney of record,
but failed to appear in any of the subsequent court hearings. As a consequence
of the above actions, the bond was ordered confiscated and the bond company
had to pay $24,000.

“Our efforts to eradicate corruption in Puerto Rico’s judicial system will incl-
ude investigations and prosecutions such as this one. The actions committed
by this attorney and his effort to conceal a federal fugitive from arrest through
illegal conduct, undermined the public’s trust in the judicial system, which is
a cornerstone of our democracy,” said Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, U.S. A-
ttorney for the District of Puerto Rico.

“As the evidence in this case demonstrated, this defendant abused his status as
a trusted officer of the court to corrupt the judicial system, and in doing so, en-
dangered the public by setting a fugitive free,” said Douglas Leff, Special Ag-
ent in Charge of the FBI. “The FBI thanks its partners at the US Attorney's Of-
fice for their diligence in obtaining this conviction.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jenifer Y. Hernández, Senior Litigation Counsel José
Ruiz Santiago and Victor O. Acevedo-Hernández were in charge of the prose-
cution of the case. The sentencing was scheduled for February 9, 2017; and the
defendant faces a sentence of up to 20 years’ imprisonment.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Puerto Rico News Digest For October 11, 2016


In a 2016 gubernatorial election poll conducted by the El Nuevo Día newspa-
per, New Progressive Party candidate Ricardo Rosselló has come out with a
solid 12% lead over Popular Democratic Party candidate David Bernier, with
40% for Rosselló versus 28% for Bernier. Independent candidate Alexandra
Lúgaro has obtained an unprecedented 13% in the poll, while fellow unaffili-
ated candidate Manuel Cidre reached 9%. They are followed by Puerto Rico
Independence Party standard bearer María de Lourdes Santiago with 3% and
Working People's Party nominee Rafael Bernabe with 1%. Five percent of re-
spondents stated that they are still undecided, while 1% said they will not be
voting. The poll was conducted between October 2 and 6 and surveyed a sam-
ple of 1,000 voters.


From The San Juan Daily Star:

"After three days of deliberation, a federal jury returned a guilty verdict against
four defendants accused of participating in a government corruption scheme led
by former Popular Democratic Party (PDP) fundraiser Anaudi Hernández Pérez.
Sally López Martínez, former director of the Labor Development Administration,
Ivonne Falcón Nieves, former vice president of the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Se-
wer Authority, Marielis Falcón Nieves, Ivonne’s sister, and Glenn Omar Rivera Pi-
zarro, a former aide in the Administrative Office of the island House of Represen-
tatives, were found guilty by a jury of six men and six women. The four were fou-
nd guilty of conspiracy to commit electronic fraud, fraud of honest service, bribery
and extortion, among other charges..."


From Caribbean Business:

"Carolina’s Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (LMM) will be conducting a
full-scale emergency exercise (FSE) Thursday, Oct. 13, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fed-
eral Aviation Administration regulations require U.S. airports to conduct these ev-
ery three years...A release explains that the emergency exercise is to verify opera-
tions to develop effective responses by personnel through the simulation of a pass-
enger aircraft crash, specifically a Boeing 737, sponsored by United Airlines, whi-
le landing at LMM, allowing the airport to practice its emergency response proce-
dures, along with business continuity plans to restore functionality..."


From Bloomberg:

"Hedge funds holding Puerto Rico’s general-obligation bonds are asking a court to
stop the commonwealth from directing sales-tax revenue to repay other debt backed
by that money because it violates the island’s constitution. It is the first legal action
for the U.S. territory that pits general-obligation bondholders against investors of sa-
les-tax debt. Puerto Rico’s constitution states its general obligations must be repaid
before other expenses. A portion of the island’s sales-tax revenue is dedicated to re-
paying bonds, called Cofinas by their Spanish acronym..."

Monday, October 10, 2016

Five Individuals Arrested for Bank Fraud

U.S. Attorney's Office

San Juan

Press Release

SAN JUAN, P.R. – On October 5, 2016, a Federal grand jury returned a nine-
teen count indictment against five individuals for conspiracy to commit bank 
fraud, bank fraud, unlawful transfer, possession, and use of means of identifi-
cation during and in relation to an enumerated felony, and access device fraud,
announced Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, United States Attorney for the Dis-
trict of Puerto Rico. The investigation was led by the United States Secret Ser-

The indictment alleges that from on or about May, 2012, through on or about 
March, 2015, Frankie Ortiz-Jaime, Wilfredo Reyes-Hiche, Cesar Quiles-Perez,
 Linda Rivera-Ortiz and Javier Torres-Garay knowingly and willfully combin-
ed, conspired and agreed with each other, to execute a scheme and artifice to 
defraud and to obtain money from Banco Popular de Puerto Rico, First Bank,
and Oriental Bank which are federally insured financial institutions and to ob-
tain monies and funds owned by and under the custody and control of the fin-
ancial institutions.

As part of the conspiracy the defendants conspired to engage in deceptive con-
duct designed to fraudulently obtain monies and credit from federally insured 
financial institutions for the purchase of goods and the distribution of monies 
to the members of the conspiracy. The indictment alleges that the defendants 
would contact Telebanco Popular to request loans using the name and perso-
nal identification information of a recruit and proceed to provide false employ-
ment and income information. The recruits, aided and abetted by the other me-
mbers of the conspiracy, would submit false documentation regarding employ-
ment and income in order to obtain loans, lines of credit, and credit cards from
the financial institutions.

According to the indictment, the defendants would receive electronic transfers 
or official checks for the loan proceeds and divide the proceeds with other me-
mbers of the conspiracy. In some instances, loan proceeds and credit cards we-
re used to purchase vehicles, such as a BMW, a Raptor and Polaris. They wo-
uld also utilize the credit cards to obtain cash and make other retail purchases.

The indictment includes a forfeiture allegation of any property, constituting, 
or derived from, proceeds obtained, directly or indirectly, as a result of the 
violations such as U.S. Currency totaling $285, 270, and three vehicles.

“Sophisticated financial crimes such as this one cause painful long lasting 
loss to law abiding businesses thereby affecting our fragile economy. Prev-
ention and prosecution of crimes of this nature will remain a top priority for 
the U.S. Attorney’s Office.” said United States Attorney, Rosa Emilia Rodr-

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Seth A. Erbe. The 
case was investigated by the United States Secret Service.

 If convicted on charges of bank fraud, the defendants face a sentence of up 
to thirty (30) years of imprisonment. Criminal indictments are only charges 
and are not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and
until proven guilty.