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Two Individuals Sentenced For Conspiracy To Commit Bribery Concerning Programs Receiving Federal Funds

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 24, 2013

SAN JUAN, PR – Today Daniel Erazo-Burgos and Brenda Velázquez-Corchado, former procurement officials with the Puerto Rico Department of Education (PR DOE) were sentenced to 18 and 30 months of imprisonment respectively for conspiracy to commit a violation of Title 18 USC Section 666(a)(1)(B), Bribery Concerning Programs Receiving Federal funds, announced United States Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez. 

Daniel Erazo-Burgos, was the Procurement Supervisor of the Puerto Rico Department of Education (PR DOE), was sentenced by United Stated District Chief Judge Aida Delgado-Colón to 18 months in prison. He had pleaded guilty on August 29, 2012. Erazo-Burgos was supervising and coordinating the PRDOE procurement officers in the Caguas and Ponce regions in their compliance with all necessary and appropriate procedures related to the processing of purchase orders.  Defendant accepted cash and goods from other co-defendants in return for his assistance in the expeditious processing of invoices for payment on contracts awarded to the co-defendants by PRDOE.

Defendant Velázquez-Corchado was the sole defendant remaining of a 13 person indictment filed against various PR DOE officials, which included the Chief Procurement Officer of the PR DOE Luis Conde-Rosa, and various company officials doing business with the Department. Velázquez-Corchado was found guilty on April 19, 2013; United States District Court Senior Judge Juan Pérez-Giménez presided the trial. The jury found that between January 2008 through February 2010, the defendant conspired with others to corruptly solicit, demand, give and accept things of value, goods and cash, intending to be influenced and rewarded in connection with a transaction and a series of transactions.   The evidence presented at trial showed that approximately $2,900,000.00 dollars in contracts were awarded to companies where the defendant received over $25,000 in bribes, which included cash and goods.   

“These individuals defrauded education programs, with the assistance of public employees who abused their positions for personal gain,” said United States Attorney, Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez. “We will continue to investigate and prosecute those who engage in corrupt acts which directly affect federal programs and the availability of these funds for its intended recipients,” stated Rodríguez-Vélez.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Julia Díaz-Rex and Héctor Ramírez.  The investigation was led by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of the Inspector General (DOE-OIG), with the collaboration of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Comptroller’s Office in Puerto Rico.

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