Ex-lawmaker Alonso Vega found guilty in kickback scheme
By John McPhaul
After a six-day jury trial, former lawmaker Néstor Alonso Vega was found guilty of nine counts of theft of federal funds, bribery, and wire fraud, U.S. Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow announced Tuesday.
United States District Court Chief Judge Raúl Arias Marxuach presided over the trial. The FBI was in charge of the investigation.
“My office will continue to diligently investigate and prosecute public corruption schemes to protect the public and hold those involved accountable for their actions,” Muldrow said in a written statement.
According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, between April 2018 and September 2020, Alonso Vega gave an assistant a raise on the condition that he kick back half of it to be distributed each payday. The defendant received more than $40,000.
It was further alleged that the assistant, who testified during the trial, used a variety of means to transfer the kickbacks to Alonso Vega. For example, he used ATH Móvil, made withdrawals at the time he received his paycheck and paid Alonso Vega in cash and, on occasion, made payments to Alonso Vega’s Home Depot account.
“Public corruption is and will continue to be a top priority for the FBI and today’s verdict is the result of that commitment,” said Joseph González, the special agent in charge of the FBI Field Office in San Juan. “I would like to thank the United States Attorney’s Office for being a strong partner in this engagement and urge those who still need to come forward with information about these schemes to do so. Our lines and doors are always open and it’s never too late to do the right thing.”