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February 25, 2015

Former Mayor of Río Grande, Puerto Rico Sentenced to 64 Months in Prison for Bribery

WASHINGTON—The former mayor of the municipality of Río Grande, Puerto Rico, was sentenced today to 64 months in prison and ordered to forfeit $39,000 for soliciting and receiving cash bribes from a contractor who sought construction inspection contracts with the municipality.

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. U.S. District Judge Carmen C. Cerezo of the District of Puerto Rico imposed the sentence.

Eduard Rivera-Correa, 61, pleaded guilty on Oct. 24, 2014, to one count of bribery. According to the plea agreement and statement of facts, while mayor of Río Grande in early 2010, Rivera-Correa 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.

In his plea agreement, Rivera-Correa also admitted to obstructing justice by threatening the contractor who paid the 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 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.

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