A mayor of a town in Puerto Rico Mayor, along with two former government officials, are now on the hook for allegations that they were involved with the misuse of a total of $8 million in local and federal funds. The suspects have been arrested Thursday, July 5, according to authorities.
Federal authorities have nabbed the Mayor of Sabana Grande, a town in southwest Puerto Rico, for alleged misappropriation of public funds. These funds from both local and federal sources totaled to around $3 million and were reportedly misused in a way that involves Puerto Rico's Department of Education, according to the Associated Press via the Business Insider.
Federal authorities said that Mayor Miguel Ortiz is accused of defrauding the federal government of nearly $3 million, financing projects without approval and manipulating the projects' costs from 2013 to around 2016.
In what is now looking as part of a cleanup drive on the island, FBI spokesman Carlos Osorio added that two former government employees have been arrested as well. This time, the two suspects were nabbed in the northern town of Toa Baja, to face similar corruption charges.
For the two former public officials, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and Department of Health and Human Services are now looking into the accusations. They stand accused of using almost $5 million worth of federal funds to bankroll the town's public employees, as well as municipal contractors.
"Not only is that illegal, it's immoral," U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodriguez told reporters, as quoted by ABC News. Former finance director Victor Cruz Quintero allegedly dumped around $2.5 million worth of allocations from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development into bank accounts linked to the town's payroll back in 2014.
Toa Baja's former interim finance director, Angle Roberto Santos Garcia, is likewise accused of a similar offense, by diverting around $650,000 worth of funds from two the HUD and the Department of Health and Human Services.