Another Former Governor of Puerto Rico, Wanda Vázquez, Indicted for Bribery, Corruption and Wire Fraud

Posted originally on the conservative tree house on August 4, 2022 | Sundance 

Keeping with historic trends in Puerto Rico, another corrupt governor has been arrested and indicted on corruption, bribery and fraud charges.  Wanda Vazquez Garced replaced Ricardo Rosselló after he was accused of racism and having a homophobic cabinet.

During her term in office, millions of dollars’ worth of Hurricane Maria aid was discovered being stored and sold on the black market from various warehouses. [Go Deep]

The hurricane supplies provided by U.S. taxpayers were never given to citizens and were instead being used by government officials and sold to retailers. The Housing Secretary (Fernando Gil), the Department of Family Secretary (Glorimar Andújar) and the director of Puerto Rico’s emergency management agency were all fired as part of the scandal.

Governor Wanda Vazquez lost her primary reelection bid in August 2020, and today was indicted for corruption, bribery and wire fraud.

(Via DOJ) -A former governor of Puerto Rico was arrested today on bribery charges related to the financing of her 2020 campaign.

Relatedly, a political consultant for the former governor and the president of the international bank have also pleaded guilty to participating in the bribery scheme.

“The alleged bribery scheme rose to the highest levels of the Puerto Rican government, threatening public trust in our electoral processes and institutions of governance,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.  “The Department of Justice is committed to holding accountable those who wrongly believe there is one rule of law for the powerful and another for the powerless.  No one is above the rule of law.”

According to the indictment, from December 2019 through June 2020, then-Governor of Puerto Rico Wanda Vazquez Garced, 62, of San Juan, allegedly engaged in a bribery scheme with various individuals, including Julio Martin Herrera Velutini, Frances Diaz, Mark Rossini, and John Blakeman to finance Vazquez Garced’s 2020 gubernatorial election campaign. (read more)

Puerto Rico has a long history of public corruption and abuse of federal funds.  Back in 2015 ten government officials in Puerto Rico were arrested for corruption, bribery, honest services wire fraud, extortion and various schemes related to giving payments to friends and family via federal contracts. [LINK]  This is the typical corruption PR is known for.

In June 2019, the FBI, Public Corruption Unit, posted a notification of an ongoing corruption probe and provided a tip-line for leads related to bribery and/or corruption of public officials. [LINK] This probe is connected to the billions of dollars U.S. taxpayers have provided to Puerto Rico for recovery after hurricane Maria (2017).

So much money was poured into the island after hurricane Maria that hundreds of local and regional officials seized the opportunity to indulge their friends and family with funds from recovery accounts.  This is the widespread corruption President Trump previously drew attention to.

This open corruption was also why Nancy Pelosi took the entire Democrat caucus to Puerto Rico in January 2019 for a vacation with her favorite lobbyists.  Everyone in/around PR knows this level of corruption is the norm, not the exception.

Later that same year, six more officials were indicted under new federal charges, including two government officials: Julia Keleher, who served as Puerto Rico’s education secretary until April; and Ángela Ávila-Marrero, who was the executive director of the Puerto Rico Health Insurance Administration. They were all variously charged with wire fraud, money laundering and conspiracy, according to the 32-count indictment.

President Trump was exactly right when he both informed and warned voters of what would happen with money dumped into Puerto Rico.