FBI Public Corruption Investigations
SAN JUAN, PR—The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is investigating patterns of conduct concerning government corruption and fraud with respect to the contracting of goods, services, and personnel. These investigations began with information provided by individuals who observed this conduct, and recent history has shown that information provided by the public can and does greatly increase the chances of a successful prosecution of those responsible. We therefore ask the public and private sectors and the community for any additional evidence of which they are aware, based on the indicators described below. The FBI is taking these measures to protect the public, which is entitled to the honest services of their officials. The FBI recognizes that there are also many honest public servants in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, who perform their duties every day with honor and distinction.
Importantly, the examples described below may have been observed recently or in the past, and might have been observed within any branch or agency of the federal, state, or municipal governments. However, the fact that one or more of these things was observed does not mean that anyone is guilty of anything, only that the conduct may fit certain patterns that we are already investigating and that we therefore should look into it.
The FBI investigates allegations of federal bribery laws when a functionary does an official act, such as awarding a job or contract, and this is done in exchange for something of value that was or will be given to the functionary. This thing of value could take the form of money, valuable property, or support to an election campaign, and the thing of value could be paid before or after the official act takes place.
Information sought with respect to government contracting:
- Contracts approved, or jobs awarded, to individuals or companies who were not the lowest bidders, and may have been significantly less qualified than other competitors for the contract or position.
- A failure to follow ordinary business practices in the awarding of jobs or contracts.
- Large expenses paid by a company that received a government contract, which would not have been necessary if one of the company’s competitors had received the contract.
Additionally, businesses and financial institutions might observe the following red flags concerning the laundering of proceeds of government fraud or corruption:
- Payments received by an individual or company as a “consultant” or “advisor,” when that person or company has no apparent experience or expertise in the particular trade.
- Payments received into accounts opened in the name of a business followed only by cash withdrawals or the payment of personal expenses.
- Cash deposits made into accounts by people other than the account holders.
- Government payments received into accounts opened in the name of a company that was formed within the past year, and has no banking history.
- Payments received into accounts that have sat dormant for a long period of time, and suddenly have a spike in deposit activity.
- Cash payments received into accounts of individuals with a close relationship to a government official.
Public tips and information assist the FBI and its federal, state, and local law enforcement partners. Citizens with information are asked to contact the FBI San Juan Field Office at 787-754-6000, or to submit tips through the FBI’s tip line available on our website at www.Tips.FBI.Gov. Tipsters can remain anonymous.
The public is reminded all persons are presumed innocent unless and until convicted in a court of law.