Zujeily Heredia-Maldonado Arrested on Extortion Charge
|FBI San Juan January 02, 2014|
Special Agent in Charge Carlos Cases of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)-San Juan Division announced the arrest of Zuleily Heredia-Maldonado for extortion. On December 31, 2013, Heredia-Maldonado was taken into custody by the FBI.
A federal complaint states that during the mid-morning hours of December 16, 2013, a male adult victim received a telephone call on his cell phone [XXX-XX5-1259] while in the continental United States from a male person identifying himself as “Jose Miguel Nunez” (hereafter referred to as Nunez).” Nunez was calling from telephone number xxx-xx9-4298. Nunez told the victim that the victim's father had observed Nunez'S vehicle in front of his (the victim's father's) residence the previous evening.
According to Nunez, the victim’s father called the local police in Puerto Rico because Nunez’s vehicle appeared suspicious. Nunez reported to the victim that he (Nunez) and his associate were arrested because of the victim's father’s call to the police. However, Nunez and his associate were later released by the police. Nunez threatened the victim and said that he (Nunez) would physically harm his father if the victim did not pay Nunez $3,500 via MoneyGram. Nunez informed the victim that he (Nunez) knew where the victim’s father lived and Nunez had “people watching the house right now.”
Nunez told the victim that his people had guns and would “shoot his father in the face"' if the victim did not wire transfer money to Nunez. The victim perceived this as a true threat and feared for his father’s safety. The victim’s father was later interviewed and reported that a male, whom he believed to be Jose Rivera aka “Cheito” (hereafter referred to as Rivera), called him from telephone number xx-xx9-4298 on or about December 16, 2013. Rivera identified himself as the victim’s old friend and requested the victim’s telephone number. The victim’s father provided Rivera with the victim’s cell phone number, xxx-xx5-1259. The victim’s father never observed suspicious activity around his residence during that time period, nor did he call the local police reporting the same.
Out of fear for his father’s life, and out of an abundance of caution, the victim—while on the phone with Nunez and pursuant to Nunez’s instructions—went to a CVS Pharmacy in the United States and sent two MoneyGram transfers totaling $3,500—$2,000 to Zujeily Heredia via transfer #98360927 and $1,500 to another named female via transfer #22581077.
MoneyGram was subpoenaed by law enforcement and the results confirmed the above noted wire transfers and that same were recovered in Ponce, Puerto Rico, by the listed persons on December 16, 2013. The results listed Zujeily Heredia’s Puerto Rico driver’s identification number as the form of identification displayed at the time of pickup.
If convicted, the defendant faces imprisonment for 20 years.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Luke V. Cass and is being investigated by the FBI.
The public is reminded that a criminal complaint contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty. The U.S. government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.