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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Treasury employee in Vieques is accused of stealing $116,000 from colecturía

By The Star Staff

Justice Secretary Domingo Emanuelli Hernández announced Tuesday that criminal charges were filed against Griselle Cruz Christian, an employee of the Treasury Department, for illegal appropriation of the daily collections at the Vieques colecturía during August, September and October 2022.

“Whoever appropriates the revenues from the Department of the Treasury is really stealing from the people, from citizens who work and fulfill their responsibilities,” the Justice secretary said in a written statement.

Judge Annette Santiago Díaz determined cause for arrest and set bail at $7,500. Cruz Christian, who worked as a collection assistant, could face a sentence of three to eight years in prison.

The investigation began after the Treasury Department made a referral to the Justice Department in December of last year, in which it was alleged that the employee had stopped depositing the daily collections from August to October 2022, and allegedly appropriated of $116,096.94, knowing that the money belonged to the Treasury Department.

“Through our internal control processes, we were able to identify certain irregularities in the balancing of deposits at the Vieques collection office,” Treasury Secretary Francisco Parés Alicea said. “We activated the corresponding internal investigation protocols and referred the findings to the Department of Justice, which filed charges of aggravated illegal appropriation, fraud and violation of the Ethics Law. We absolutely reject these actions and affirm our commitment to ensure the proper management and use of public funds.”

Cruz Christian was removed from her position, the Treasury chief added.

“In addition to external efforts to prevent and detect acts of evasion and other tax crimes, internally we are also educating employees about the consequences of committing acts of corruption or bribery,” he said.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for June 5.

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