Supposed solar contractor charged in scam involving elderly client
By John McPhaul
The island Justice Department’s Economic Crimes Division on Monday filed charges of fraud in the execution of work, financial exploitation of an elderly person and aggravated illegal appropriation against Gabriel López López, owner of the solar panel sales company Virtuosity LLC.
“The Economic Crimes Division of the Department of Justice has several active investigations for fraud in the sale of solar panels,” Justice Secretary Domingo Emanuelli Hernández said in a written statement. “Therefore, we urge citizens to inquire about the legitimacy and history of the companies before contracting and paying for this service.”
López, who is 24 years old, made a contract in March of last year with José Martínez Coello, 79, through which he promised to install solar panels on a real property located in Jayuya. The total cost of the installation was $267,500.24. On March 15, 2021, Martínez Coello advanced the accused the amount of $133,750.12. Agent William Heredia Morales, of the Puerto Rico Police Bureau’s Property and Fraud Division, was in charge of the initial investigation and was able to confirm that López cashed the check that same day. However, despite multiple efforts made by Martínez Coello and his family for more than a year, the company Virtuosity did not comply with the provisions of the contract.
Judge Melissa Santiago of the Utuado Superior Court determined cause for arrest against the owner of Virtuosity and imposed bail of $30,000, which López paid. The contractor must wear an electronic monitoring device until the preliminary hearing, which is scheduled for Aug. 9, at 3 p.m. in the Utuado court.
Agents from the Stolen Vehicle Division seized a Tesla vehicle from the accused that had been reported as in default by a banking institution.
Prosecutor Ileana Martínez Rosado noted that “López López could face between three and eight years in prison, in addition to fines and a penalty of restitution of the money received for the crimes defined in articles 127C, 182 and 204 of the Penal Code.”