SAN JUAN, P.R. – On March 25, a Federal grand jury returned a twenty-three count indictment charging eleven individuals for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and wire fraud, announced Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. The Secret Service and the Puerto Rico Police Department are in charge of the investigation.
Beginning in or about June 2008 and continuing to in or about October 2011, the defendants devised a scheme and artifice to defraud AMGEN, a multinational biopharmaceutical company located in Juncos, Puerto Rico. The purpose of the conspiracy was for defendants to enrich themselves by using the AMGEN American Express Purchasing Credit cards (PCards) and purchase requisition process to obtain payments for fictitious purchases and split the proceeds paid by AMGEN for these fictitious purchases and/or services that were never actually rendered or received.
The defendants are: Joel Merced-Mercano, Héctor Santiago-Rodríguez, Efraín Rivera-Romàn, Pablo López, Hernàn Torres-Gómez, Joel Díaz-Rosario, Mitza Vàzquez-Meléndez, Juan L. Carreras, Marielexy Cestary-Roldàn, Carlos Calderón-Díaz, and Lourdes Colón-Colón.
“Some of the defendants had the duty and responsibility to ensure that AMGEN’s facility was able to properly operate twenty four hours a day, seven days a week; but instead, they misused their positions of trust within the company to commit fraud to enrich themselves illegally,” stated Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. “AMGEN suffered a loss of over $1.6 million as a result of the scheme; those responsible for this loss will be held accountable for their corrupt actions.”
If convicted, the defendants face a maximum possible sentence of 20 years. The case is being investigated by the Secret Service with the collaboration of the Puerto Rico Police Department, and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Julia Meconiates. An indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. Defendants are presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty. The investigation is ongoing.