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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Puerto Rico

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Banco Popular Employee Indicted And Arrested For Obstruction Of Justice And Making False Statements

SAN JUAN, P.R. – On Monday, June 24, 2019, a federal grand jury returned a two-count indictment charging Juan Carlos Díaz-Rodríguez with obstruction of a criminal investigation and making false statements, announced Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. The FBI is in charge of the investigation. 

According to the allegations in the indictment, on or about September 20, 2018, defendant Juan Carlos Díaz-Rodríguez, an employee of a financial institution, Banco Popular de Puerto Rico, notified Individual A and others, about the existence of, and contents of, a Federal grand jury subpoena for customer records of that financial institution. The subpoena served on Banco Popular de Puerto Rico related to possible crimes involving violations of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1956, 1957 (money laundering). Defendant Díaz-Rodríguez acted with intent to obstruct a judicial proceeding.

On or about June 5, 2019, Díaz-Rodríguez did willfully and knowingly make a materially false, fictitious, and fraudulent statement and representation in a matter within the jurisdiction of the executive branch of the Government of the United States. During a voluntary interview, Díaz-Rodríguez told Special Agents of the FBI that he did not take a photograph of a Federal grand jury subpoena regarding bank records belonging to Individual B and that he, the defendant, did not send a photograph of said Grand Jury Subpoena to anyone.

The statement and representation were false because Díaz-Rodríguez then and there knew that he did take a photograph of the Grand Jury Subpoena, and that he did send a message to Individual A containing a photograph of the Grand Jury Subpoena.

“As we forewarned on April 5 of 2019, this indictment is the result of the federal investigation into the unlawful disclosure of a grand jury subpoena to the press. Grand Jury information is secret for several reasons, to protect the confidentiality of federal investigations and the due process rights of individuals being investigated. The actions taken by this defendant undermine the public’s trust in the integrity of federal investigations and they carry severe consequences,” said U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez.

Douglas A. Leff, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI, San Juan Division stated: “The FBI wants the public to know that interfering with a Grand Jury investigation, be it by leaking confidential information or by lying to Federal Agents or both, is a serious offense that constitutes Obstruction of Justice. Puerto Rico deserves better and this behavior will not be tolerated.”

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys José Capó-Iriarte and Marie Christine Amy. The defendant is facing a maximum term of imprisonment of five years. An indictment is only an accusation and not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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Updated June 25, 2019