WASHINGTON – The former mayor of the municipality of Humacao, Puerto Rico, was sentenced today to three years and one month in prison for his involvement in a bribery scheme in which he received cash payments for awarding municipal contracts to two companies.
According to court documents, from 2021 until 2022, Reinaldo Vargas-Rodríguez, 49, was the mayor and highest-ranking government official in the municipality of Humacao. Starting in 2021, Vargas-Rodríguez was involved in a bribery conspiracy in which he received and accepted cash payments from two businessmen in exchange for awarding municipal contracts for waste disposal services, asphalt and paving services, and debris removal, and paying outstanding invoices on the contracts. Vargas-Rodríguez received at least $27,000 in cash bribes from January 2021 through July 2021 from the two businessmen.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. 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 Erbe for the District of Puerto Rico prosecuted the case. Trial Attorney Ryan R. Crosswell of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott H. Anderson for the District of Puerto Rico assisted in the investigation.
This case is 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.