Former Mayor of Río Grande, Puerto Rico Pleads Guilty to Soliciting and Accepting Bribes from Contractor
WASHINGTON—The former mayor of the municipality of Río Grande, Puerto Rico, pleaded guilty today to soliciting and receiving approximately $39,000 in cash bribes from a contractor who sought to be awarded three construction inspection contracts with the municipality of Río Grande.
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez of the District of Puerto Rico and Special Agent in Charge Carlos Cases of the FBI’s San Juan Division made the announcement.
According to his plea agreement, Eduard Rivera-Correa, 61, while mayor of Río Grande in early 2010, requested that a contractor make regular kickback payments in exchange for the award of three construction inspection contracts worth a total of $329,000. After the contracts were awarded and while payments were being disbursed by the municipality, the contractor delivered envelopes containing approximately $39,000 in cash to Rivera-Correa’s office and placed them in his drawer.
Rivera-Correa pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Marcos E. López to one count of bribery. Rivera-Correa was arrested on July 10, 2014, after being indicted by a federal grand jury. His sentencing will be scheduled at a later date.
In his plea agreement, Rivera-Correa admitted to obstructing justice by threatening the contractor who paid him bribes. On or about April 16, 2012, in a recorded conversation, Rivera-Correa threatened the contractor in an effort to intimidate him and dissuade him from cooperating with law enforcement.
This case was investigated by the FBI and is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Charles R. Walsh of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and Criminal Chief Jose Ruíz of the District of Puerto Rico. The Puerto Rico Office of Government Ethics provided assistance in the investigation.