June 29, 2022

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Former Mayor of Puerto Rico Municipality Sentenced for Accepting Bribes

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<div>A former mayor of a municipality in Puerto Rico was sentenced today to two years in prison for his involvement in a bribery scheme in which he received monthly cash payments in exchange for awarding municipal contracts.</div>

A former mayor of a municipality in Puerto Rico was sentenced today to two years in prison for his involvement in a bribery scheme in which he received monthly cash payments in exchange for awarding municipal contracts.

Luis Arroyo-Chiqués, 56, of Rincon, pleaded guilty in December 2021 to one count of conspiracy to engage in a bribery scheme. According to court documents and statements made in connection with his plea and sentencing, Arroyo-Chiqués was the mayor and highest-ranking government official in the municipality of Aguas Buenas from 2005 until 2016. In 2017, Arroyo-Chiqués negotiated with Individual B for a waste collection contract for Company A, which was owned and operated by Individual A. In exchange for the 10-year waste collection contract, Individual A agreed to pay Arroyo-Chiqués bribes of $10,000 per month ($1.00 per house for 10,000 houses in the municipality). The agreement was arranged so that Arroyo-Chiqués would be paid $5,000 per month for the life of the contract and Individual B would be paid $5,000 per month. This payment was made in cash every month from 2016 and continued even after Arroyo-Chiqués left office in 2016. The last payment to Arroyo-Chiqués occurred in June 2021.

Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow for the District of Puerto Rico, Assistant Director Luis Quesada of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division, and Special Agent in Charge Joseph Gonzalez of the FBI San Juan Field Office made the announcement. 

The FBI San Juan Field Office investigated the case.

Trial Attorney Nicholas W. Cannon of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Seth A. Erbe for the District of Puerto Rico are prosecuting the case.

This case is part of the Justice Department’s ongoing efforts to combat public corruption by municipal officials in Puerto Rico. In addition to the above matters, the Public Integrity Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico have recently obtained convictions against other former public officials and contractors in the District of Puerto Rico for soliciting and accepting bribes related to municipal contracts. See United States v. Eduardo Cintrón-Suárez, 22-151 (SCC); United States v. Félix Delgado-Montalvo, 21-463 (RAM); United States v. Oscar Santamaria-Torres, 21-464 (RAM); United States v. Raymond Rodríguez, 21-465 (RAM); and United States v. Ramon Conde-Melendez, 22-221 (PAD). 

Additionally, the department recently obtained indictments charging several former officials and contractors with bribery related to municipal contracts, and those cases are still pending. See United States v. Mario Villegas-Vargas, 21-468 (FAB); United States v. Ángel Pérez-Otero, 21-474 (ADC); United States v. Radamés Benítez-Cardona, 21-475 (PAD); United States v. Javier García-Pérez, 22-185 (ADC); and United States v. Reinaldo Vargas-Rodríguez, 22-186 (PAD).

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