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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Ex-Yauco mayor gets 18 months in prison, ex-Aguas Buenas mayor pleads guilty

Former senator and Yauco mayor Abel Nazario Quiñones

Judge allows Nazario to start serving sentence after finishing doctoral dissertation

By The Star Staff

Former senator and Yauco Mayor Abel Nazario Quiñones will serve 18 months in federal prison, but only after he finishes his doctoral dissertation, while Aguas Buenas Mayor Javier García Pérez pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy for his participation in a bribery scheme, officials said late last week.

Federal judge Francisco Augusto Besosa sentenced Nazario Quiñones to 18 months after he pleaded guilty and accepted blame for having “ghost employees” who were paid as municipal workers but who were working directly on his political campaign.

The convicted politician said he has “respect for the institution.”

“I pleaded guilty, I asked the people of Puerto Rico for forgiveness for the act I committed,” Nazario Quiñones said as he left the federal court in Old San Juan last Friday. “The judge has allowed me to turn myself in once I finish my doctoral thesis. It’s surprising, it’s God. Only God does those things and the prayers of so many good people in Puerto Rico, of my friends who have accompanied me and of all of them.”

Nazario Quiñones is studying for a doctoral degree in political communication and is writing his thesis on the influence of the media in the elections between 2010 and 2020 in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Cuba.

The former vice president of the New Progressive Party also pleaded guilty to a scheme to steal federal funds by lying about the use of funds from the U.S. Department of Labor in the municipality of Yauco. Nazario Quiñones had been released for his appeal process.

Meanwhile, García Pérez pleaded guilty Friday to one count of conspiracy for his participation in a bribery scheme in which he received cash payments in exchange for the awarding of municipal contracts and the payment of bills related to those contracts.

According to court documents, García Pérez, 46, was involved in a bribery conspiracy in which, from 2017 to 2021, he received and accepted cash payments from two businessmen in exchange for awarding them municipal contracts for public transportation services, waste disposal. asphalting, paving and debris removal services, and payment of pending contract invoices. Specifically, García Pérez received at least $32,000 in cash payments from August 2020 to September 2021 from the two businessmen.

Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Polite Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico W. Stephen Muldrow, Assistant Director Luis Quesada of the FBI Criminal Investigation Division, and Joseph González, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s San Juan Field Office, made the announcement.

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