Puerto Rican governor charged in campaign scam

( Reuter )- Puerto Rican Gov. Anibal Acevedo Vila and 12 political associates in the Caribbean island and on the U.S. mainland were charged with election funding fraud in an indictment unsealed on Thursday.

The charges said Acevedo Vila collected illegal contributions and spent far more than he reported during his election campaigns from 1999 to 2004.

A group of Philadelphia-area businessmen solicited contributions from relatives and staff and illegally reimbursed the donors, the indictment alleges. The governor then helped them get government contracts in Puerto Rico, it says.

Before taking office as governor in January 2005, Acevedo Vila was the U.S. territory's resident commissioner, its non-voting representative in the U.S. Congress.

Charges in the 27-count indictment include conspiracy, making false statements to the FBI, wire fraud, defrauding a federal election funding program and tax crimes.

Acevedo Vila, who faces 19 counts, issued a statement saying he would turn himself in on Friday and called the charges politically motivated.

"It's the result of three years of leaks, rumors and a spectacle designed to harm me," said Acevedo Vila, who faces re-election in November.

"Because the federal authorities have decided to stretch their jurisdiction and twist the truth, I am going to defend my rights and protect the dignity of my family and the people of Puerto Rico who support me."

He is a member of the Popular Democratic Party, which favors maintaining Puerto Rico's status as a U.S. commonwealth rather than seeking full U.S. statehood.

Acevedo Vila is the third well-known Democrat to get into trouble with the law this month. Elliot Spitzer resigned as New York governor amid reports that he hired a $1,000-an-hour prostitute. Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was charged with perjury and other offenses stemming in part from a sex scandal.

Acevedo Vila, who endorsed Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois as the Democratic contender in the U.S. presidential race, is also a superdelegate, one of the party insiders and elected officials who may hold the deciding votes in the contest between Obama and New York Sen. Hillary Clinton.

Puerto Rico's 4 million residents cannot vote in the November election but they help choose party nominees and will hold a presidential primary election on June 1. Puerto Rico will send 55 elected delegates and eight superdelegates to the Democrats' nominating convention in August.

Acevedo Vila was secluded inside La Fortaleza, the historic governor's mansion in Old San Juan, as prosecutors held a news conference on Thursday to announce the charges.

Investigators said Acevedo Vila routinely supplemented his income with campaign funds, in amounts ranging from $500 to $5,000. They said he also used campaign cash to pay for family vacations in Orlando, Florida, and to send his children on a trip to China.

The other 12 defendants were arrested and included campaign donors and staff and some of Acevedo Vila's current and former aides in Washington and San Juan.

They are accused of making and collecting illegal contributions, mostly funneled through the campaign's public relations and media company.

If convicted, the defendants face from three to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $6.4 million. The governor himself faces up to 20 years if convicted on all counts.

President Ilham Aliyev receives delegation led by Russian foreign minister (PHOTO)
President Ilham Aliyev receives delegation led by Russian foreign minister (PHOTO)
National leader Heydar Aliyev`s 98th anniversary marked at parliament (PHOTO)
National leader Heydar Aliyev`s 98th anniversary marked at parliament (PHOTO)
Program of Russian FM's visit to Azerbaijan unveiled
Program of Russian FM's visit to Azerbaijan unveiled
Loading Bars
7 rockets fired from Gaza at Jerusalem area: Israeli military
Saudi Arabia to require arriving visitors to quarantine for a week
Oil prices inch higher as traders eye U.S. pipeline shutdown
Palestinians report several killed in Israeli air raids on Gaza
Biden confident he will meet with Putin
Over 1.6mln receive COVID-19 vaccine in Kazakhstan
Azerbaijan's import of cars from Turkey drops
Iran makes advanced industrial flame arrester
Putin says 21.5 mln Russians vaccinated against COVID-19
U.S. Treasury launches access to $350 billion in state/local COVID-19 aid
President Ilham Aliyev receives delegation led by Russian foreign minister (PHOTO)
Global COVID-19 cases, deaths reach plateau - WHO
Electric, hybrid car sales in Turkey surge over 200% in 4 months
Georgian, North Macedonian Presidents sign visa-free agreement
Second component of Sputnik V vaccine delivered to Kyrgyzstan
Iran produces oil-based ozone generator
India COVID cases hold close to record highs as calls widen for national lockdown
USAID’s focus to remain on modernization of energy sector in Kazakhstan
China-made meteorological satellite for dawn-dusk orbit passes review
Saudi Arabia's GDP contracts 3.3% in Q1 on oil output, non-oil economy recovers
Azerbaijan purchasing new equipment to speed up mine clearance on liberated lands (VIDEO)
Iran's Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale on May 11
Weekly review of Azerbaijani precious metals market
Activities in Iran’s Khorramshahr port climb
Iran’s Bahar Azadi gold coin price continues to increase
New facility to be put into operation in Iran’s electricity sector
Iran boosts production, export of greens and vegetables
Azerbaijan shares data on number of vaccinated citizens for May 10
Iran's ICOFC to develop two gas fields
National leader Heydar Aliyev`s 98th anniversary marked at parliament (PHOTO)
Program of Russian FM's visit to Azerbaijan unveiled
Azerbaijan confirms 371 more COVID-19 cases, 892 recoveries
Public reps of Azerbaijan paying tribute to late National Leader Heydar Aliyev (PHOTO)
Mine-clearing operations begin in Azerbaijan's liberated villages
Iran talks IAEA monitoring cameras at nuclear sites
Presidents of Russia, Azerbaijan hold phone conversation
Int'l organizations notified about Armenia's crimes against Azerbaijani civilians - Azerbaijan's prosecutor general
Criminal cases against Armenian terrorists who fought in Karabakh nearing completion - Prosecutor General of Azerbaijan
Uzbekistan eyes ratifying two more conventions of International Labor Organization
Uzbek mining and metallurgical complex exceeds export plan by half
Cargo movements in Iran’s Imam Khomeini port up
Iran reveals details of saffron exports
Various results achieved in Vienna every day – Iran’s MFA
Oil gains after cyberattack forces shutdown of U.S. fuel pipelines
Heydar Aliyev saved independent Azerbaijan from disappearing from political map - Russian expert
Iran, Saudi Arabia conduct both bilateral, regional talks – Iran's MFA
Registration of presidential candidates starts in Iran
Volume of loaded, unloaded cargo in Iranian ports grows
President Ilham Aliyev ends visit to Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic (PHOTO)
Uzbekistan notes significant increase in bank cash turnover in 4M2021
Uzbekneftegaz reveals indicators of oil and gas production and processing in 4M2021
Uzbekistan and France sign cooperation program
Uzbekistan Helicopters LLC opens tender for refueling vehicle
Political will of Heydar Aliyev bearing fruit - colonel general
Carbon price to rise, as governments pursue deeper decarbonisation strategies
Iran expects to increase vaccination
President Ilham Aliyev interviewed by Azerbaijan Television (PHOTO)
Death toll from COVID-19 exceeds 75,000 people
Number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Russia rises by 8,465 per day
President Ilham Aliyev views Ordubad railway station (PHOTO)
President Aliyev attends launch of project for reconstruction of drinking water supply, sewerage systems in Ordubad (PHOTO)
President Ilham Aliyev views construction of Ordubad Hydroelectric Power Plant (PHOTO)
ERIELL to work on wells at field in Uzbekistan’s Karakalpakstan
First Vice President of Azerbaijan shares publication on occasion of 98th anniversary of birth of National Leader Heydar Aliyev
President Ilham Aliyev attends inauguration of Julfa-Ordubad highway (PHOTO)
Uzbekistan’s 1Q2021 tomatoes export revealed
Turkey sees increase in cement exports to Azerbaijan
Kazakhstan-Israel trade plummets y-o-y
Uzbekistan to connect number of small industrial zones to utility networks
Weekly review of Azerbaijani currency market
ACG oil transshipment from Ceyhan terminal exceeds 70 mb YTD
EBRD, EIB, Proparco to fund construction of solar power plant in Uzbekistan’s Samarkand
President Ilham Aliyev attends opening of Artificial Insemination Center in Nakhchivan (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan creating 'green' energy zone in liberated Karabakh
President Ilham Aliyev attends opening of Nakhchivan Garrison Central Hospital (PHOTO)
President Ilham Aliyev attended inauguration of Nakhchivan branch of “Azerkhalcha” OJSC (PHOTO)
Weekly review of Azerbaijani oil market
Bank of Israel cuts government bond purchases
President Ilham Aliyev viewed construction of “ASAN xidmət” Center in Nakhchivan (PHOTO)
Turkey's 4M2021 steel exports to Turkmenistan shrink
Armenian Parliament to reconsider issue of electing new prime minister
Iran increases sturgeon farming
World's largest cargo plane with UK Covid aid takes off for India
President Ilham Aliyev visits statue of national leader Heydar Aliyev in Nakhchivan (PHOTO)
India to recruit 400 retired medical officers of AMC, SSC; Defence Ministry issues orders
Iran eyes to expand ties Turkmenistan
Azerbaijani president visits graves of martyrs of Patriotic War at Nakhchivan city cemetery (PHOTO)
Indian-Led Ground-Breaking Cancer Test Hopes To Launch This Year
President Aliyev attends opening of military aerodrome of Special Combined Arms Army (PHOTO)
Iran to renovate public transport fleet
Iranian water and electricity companies to enter EAEU market
Artists of Int'l Arts Festival create 'Kharybulbul' model in Azerbaijan's liberated lands (PHOTO)
Indian and Indonesian navies carry out military drill in southern Arabian Sea
President Aliyev attends presentation of new runway at Nakhchivan International Airport (PHOTO)
Iran continues investments for dev't of postal network
Iran, Serbia to expand ties by preferential trade agreement
Iran to inaugurate new national housing units
Iran's NIGTC announces tender for intelligent pipes
Iran to return to its full oil production capacity by early 2023, says JP Morgan
India, EU hold virtual summit to boost overall ties
All news