Co-defendant in fraud case against ex-lawmaker faces 7 years on probation
By The Star Staff
The Special Independent Prosecutor Panel (OPFEI by its Spanish initials) announced Thursday that San Juan Superior Court Judge Eloína Torres Cancel has imposed a sentence of seven years on probation against Soniel Torres Suárez, a co-defendant in the case against former New Progressive Party Rep. Ramón Rodríguez Ruiz.
Torres Suárez pleaded guilty to government corruption on Jan. 23. She faced 10 charges filed against her by special independent prosecutors Manuel Núñez Corrada and Cándida Selles Ríos in connection with a scheme in which non-profit entities were created in order to obtain funds from the Legislature.
Torres Suárez faced perjury charges after declaring under oath that the former legislator did not attack her. She was also charged with embezzlement of public funds when hiring an employee who did not perform the described duties, ideological falsehood, and fraud or deception of witnesses.
She entered a guilty plea for a recommended sentence of seven years’ probation, subject to what is revealed in the pre-sentence report, which will be submitted to Judge Gisela Alfonso of the San Juan Superior Court.
The OPFEI investigation indicated that at the request of Rodríguez Ruiz, the non-profit organizations Lazos Dorados de Amor and Futuros Deportistas were created to receive legislative donations. Torres Suárez reimbursed $5,625 to the House of Representatives through a manager’s check. The former official was represented by lawyers Mario Moczó and Lester Arroyo.
The OPFEI accused Rodríguez Ruiz of fraud and improper intervention in government operations.