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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Former Mayor of Trujillo Alto Sentenced for Accepting Bribes

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The former mayor of the Municipality of Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico, José Luis Cruz-Cruz, was sentenced today to 24 months in prison for his involvement in a bribery scheme in which he received cash payments in exchange for directing municipal employees to execute municipal contracts for the benefit of an asphalt and paving company and a trash removal company.

José Luis Cruz-Cruz, 63, pleaded guilty in June 2022 to one count of conspiracy to engage in a bribery scheme. According to court documents and statements made in connection with his plea and sentencing, Cruz-Cruz was the mayor and highest-ranking government official in the municipality of Trujillo Alto from 2009 until 2022. In 2020 and 2021 he directed municipal employees to execute municipal contracts with Company A and Company B. In exchange, Cruz-Cruz agreed to receive kickback payments in cash from Company A and Company B. In addition to the term of imprisonment, the defendant was sentenced to two years of supervised release.

Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, United States Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow for the District of Puerto Rico, Assistant Director Luis Quesada of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division, and Special Agent in Charge Joseph González of the FBI San Juan Field Office made the announcement. 

The FBI San Juan Field Office investigated the case.

Trial Attorney Nicholas W. Cannon of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Seth A. Erbe for the District of Puerto Rico are prosecuting the case.

These cases are part of the Justice Department’s ongoing efforts to combat public corruption by municipal officials in Puerto Rico. In addition to the above matters, the Public Integrity Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico have recently obtained convictions against other former public officials and contractors in the District of Puerto Rico for soliciting and accepting bribes related to municipal contracts. See United States v. Félix Delgado-Montalvo, 21-463 (RAM); United States v. Oscar Santamaria-Torres, 21-464 (RAM); United States v. Raymond Rodríguez, 21-465 (RAM); United States v. Mario Villegas-Vargas, 21-468 (FAB); United States v. Radamés Benítez-Cardona, 21-475 (PAD); United States v. Luis Arroyo-Chiques, 21-485 (SCC); United States v. Eduardo Cintron-Suarez, 22-151 (SCC); United States v. Ramon Conde-Melendez, 22-221 (PAD); United States v. Pedro Miranda-Marrero, 22-251 (RAM); and United States Jose Bou-Santiago, 22-379 (ADC).

Additionally, the department recently obtained indictments charging several former officials with bribery related to municipal contracts, and those cases are still pending.  See United States v. Ángel Pérez-Otero, 21-474 (ADC); United States v. Javier García-Pérez, 22-185 (ADC); and United States v. Reinaldo Vargas-Rodríguez, 22-186 (PAD).

An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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Updated January 11, 2023