Walter Pierluisi Isern, Eduardo Pierluisi Isern, and American Management and Administration Corporation Sentenced for Federal Program Theft in Excess of $3.7 Million
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Puerto Rico
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico –Today, United States District Court Judge Camille Vélez Rivé sentenced Walter Pierluisi Isern, Eduardo Pierluisi Isern, and American Management and Administration Corporation (AMAC). The defendants pleaded guilty in April to one count of Theft of Federal Program Funds in relation to the misappropriation of operational funds provided by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for the administration of public housing projects (PHPs) in Puerto Rico.
Defendant Walter Pierluisi Isern was sentenced to serve 43 months of imprisonment, two years of supervised release, and to pay the restitution amount of $2,035,498.86, jointly and severally with AMAC. Defendant Eduardo Pierluisi Isern was sentenced to serve 24 months of imprisonment, two years of supervised release, and to pay the restitution amount of $363,202.28, jointly and severally with AMAC. Defendant AMAC was sentenced to 3 years on probation and to pay the restitution amount of $3,712,000.00, jointly and severally with the co-defendants. All restitution amounts are to be paid to the United States.
According to court documents, the defendants were convicted of knowingly and intentionally stealing money from HUD federal assistance programs from 2014 to August 2022 for their own use and the use of others. The total amount of theft was approximately $3,712,000.00.
The defendants admitted in their plea agreements that despite AMAC’s fiduciary obligations, Walter Pierluisi Isern and Eduardo Pierluisi Isern used their executive positions within AMAC to operate a fraudulent scheme designed to circumvent that prohibition. In furtherance of that scheme, they illegally caused operational funds from the federal assistance programs to be routed via corporations and individuals they controlled, all to personally enrich themselves.
As detailed in the proceedings, Walter Pierluisi Isern created contracts for FiveStar Pest Control, Inc. (FiveStar) and CoolBreeze Air Conditioning, Inc. (CoolBreeze) to provide services to PHPs under AMAC’s management. He then caused multiple payments to be made by FiveStar and CoolBreeze to funnel money to Docu Warehouse, Pier Property, and XY Enterprises, companies controlled and owned by Walter Pierluisi Isern. Through this scheme, Walter Pierluisi Isern illegally obtained approximately $2,035,498.86 in HUD funding that was earmarked for PHP operational expenses.
The admissions included the recognition that Eduardo Pierluisi Isern caused checks from FiveStar and CoolBreez to be issued to the names of others, which he then cashed and deposited into his personal bank account for his personal use and benefit. Through this scheme, Eduardo Pierluisi Isern illegally obtained approximately $363,202.28 in HUD funding that was earmarked for PHP operational expenses.
AMAC, through its executives and officials, was convicted of illegally diverting a total of $3,712,000 in HUD funding that was earmarked for PHP operational expenses.
“As today’s sentences demonstrate, those who attempt to defraud federal programs will be held accountable,” said W. Stephen Muldrow, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. “The defendants and their company harmed the integrity of a program designed to help underprivileged homeowners. Today’s sentences send a clear message that any time federal dollars are misused and regardless of who steals taxpayer monies, we will work tirelessly to pursue justice.”
“Safeguarding taxpayer funded programs and resources that benefit low-income families in our communities is vital to the success of HUD’s programs,” said HUD OIG Special Agent in Charge, Jerome Winkle. “HUD OIG remains steadfast in its commitment to work closely with Federal prosecutors and law enforcement agencies and state and local partners to aggressively investigate those who threaten HUD programs.”
“When unscrupulous individuals scheme to create a contract monopoly, everyone loses,” said Joseph González, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI San Juan Field Office. “The federal government loses because the money, destined to better communities in need, ends up in the pockets of criminals with inflated contract rates. The local government loses because every time federal funds are stolen in this manner; more stringent measures must be implemented to avoid future fraud. But the saddest of losses is the one suffered by the honest entrepreneur. The hard worker with a small maintenance company who puts his savings and the sweat of his brow into his business and doesn’t even get a chance to compete against these criminals for a government contract. The FBI will not allow this to happen without consequence. No one is above the law.”
Their co-defendant, David Vélez Hernández, former Director of Finance for AMAC, is scheduled to be sentenced on August 28, 2023.
The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Inspector General investigated this case with the assistance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Marie Christine Amy is prosecuting the case.
Updated July 11, 2023