News Americas, SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO, Fri. May 30, 2014: A 62-year-old Puerto Rico Superior Court Judge has been indicted on bribery charges along with the businessman who allegedly paid him the bribes.
An indictment, returned by a federal grand jury in the District of Puerto Rico and unsealed Thursday, charges Judge Manuel Acevedo-Hernandez, 62, and businessman Lutgardo Acevedo-Lopez, 39, with conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery.
Acevedo-Hernandez was also charged with receipt of a bribe by an agent of an organization receiving federal funds, and Acevedo-Lopez was charged with paying a bribe to an agent of an organization receiving federal funds.
According to the indictment, Acevedo-Hernandez, a Supervisory Superior Court Judge in the Aguadilla judicial region of Puerto Rico, allegedly accepted bribes from Acevedo–Lopez and others, knowing that the payments were made so that Acevedo-Hernandez would use his official position as a Superior Court judge for Acevedo-Lopez’s benefit.
In particular, Acevedo-Hernandez presided over a criminal trial of Acevedo-Lopez and acquitted Acevedo-Lopez of all charges pending against him, including vehicular homicide. In exchange for the acquittal, Acevedo-Lopez, through an intermediary, bribed Acevedo-Hernandez by paying taxes owed by Acevedo-Hernandez, paying for construction of a garage, and providing him with a motorcycle, clothing and accessories, including cufflinks and a watch.
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division said: “We are committed to restoring that faith by rooting out corruption wherever it may be found.”