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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Fourth Contractor Enters Guilty Plea to Bribing Former Mayor of Cataño

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – José Bou-Santiago, 50, was charged via information and pleaded guilty today in Puerto Rico to engaging in a bribery scheme in which he provided a bribe in exchange for being awarded a future municipal construction service contract that benefited his maintenance service company.

In 2019, Bou-Santiago, the owner Bou Maintenance Service, secured municipal contracts in Cataño for green area maintenance, construction, and the purchase, sale, and rental of vehicles. In order to stay competitive with bidding for these types of municipal contracts, Bou-Santiago agreed to provide the former mayor of Cataño with a Rolex watch. In April 2019, Bou-Santiago met with the former mayor of Cataño at his home and provided him with the watch. The watch was a Rolex “Pepsi” Model #116719 purchased by Bou-Santiago for $33,000 and given to the former mayor of Cataño in exchange for the awarding of a future construction service contract to Bou Maintenance Service.

In June 2019, in exchange for the Rolex watch provided to the former mayor of Cataño, Bou Maintenance Service was awarded a Cataño municipal contract for construction services valued at approximately $190,000.00.

Bou-Santiago pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to engage in a bribery scheme.  He faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, W. Stephen Muldrow, U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico, and Special Agent in Charge Joseph Gonzalez of the FBI’s San Juan Field Office made the announcement. 

The investigation was conducted by the FBI’s San Juan Field Office.

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

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 three 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. United States v. Raymond Rodríguez, 21-465 (RAM); United States v. Mario Villegas, 21-468(FAB); United States v. Luis Arroyo-Chiques, 21-485 (SCC); United States v. Eduardo Cintron-Saurez, 22-151 (SCC); United States v. Ramon Conde-Melendez, 22-221 (PAD); United States v. Pedro Marrero-Miranda, 22-251 (RAM); and United States v. Jose Luis Cruz-Cruz, 22-276 (SCC).

Additionally, the department recently obtained indictments charging several former officials and contractors 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. Radamés Benítez-Cardona, 21-475 (PAD); United States v. Javier García-Pérez, 22-185 (ADC); and United States v. Reinaldo Vargas-Rodríguez, 22-186 (PAD).

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Updated August 30, 2022