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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Convicted businessman Santamaría is sentenced to 30 months in prison



Judge Raúl Arias Marxuach emphasized before sentencing that Oscar Santamaría Torres had opportunities to live well with his extensive education but chose instead to take advantage of political influences to become the model of “a political investor who abuses his access.”

By The Star Staff


Convicted businessman and contractor Oscar Santamaría Torres was sentenced Tuesday to 30 months in prison for his role in a million-dollar bribery scheme that resulted in convictions of several mayors when he later decided to cooperate with federal authorities by providing testimony.


Santamaría also must pay a fine of $250,000, comply with supervised release and perform 150 hours of community service.


He pleaded guilty in December 2021 to paying bribes and “kickbacks” to obtain contracts in the municipality of Cataño, under the administration of convicted former mayor Félix “el Cano” Delgado Montalvo.


“I wish from the bottom of my heart to make amends for my faults and repay the damage caused by paying for my mistakes accordingly,” he said at the time.


The sentence is more than what the prosecution and defense requested. Judge Raúl Arias Marxuach highlighted before sentencing that Santamaría had opportunities to live well with his extensive education but that he chose to take advantage of political influences to become the model of “a political investor who abuses his access.”


As part of an agreement reached months ago, the prosecution and defense had agreed to ask the court for 60 months in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Still, Arias Marxuach opted to make the decision himself. In the end, the prosecution and the defense lawyers on Tuesday requested a sentence of 12 to 18 months in jail but the judge imposed a stiffer sentence.


Santamaría was represented by lawyer María Domínguez, while the federal prosecutor’s office was represented by Nicholas Cannon.


Santamaría must turn himself in to start serving his sentence on May 2 of this year. He asked to be booked into the federal prison in Pensacola, Florida.


Santamaría admitted that he paid some $2,000 a week to Delgado Montalvo from 2017 to 2021 in exchange for contracts.


According to the plea agreement, in that time period one of his companies obtained over $39 million in contracts with that municipality. A second company received $584,830, while a third surpassed $7 million in contracts.


Santamaría maintained similar corruption schemes with a number of municipalities besides Cataño, including Guaynabo, Aguas Buenas, Trujillo Alto and Humacao.

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