Ex-Puerto Rican city mayor sentenced to more than five years for bribery

A former Puerto Rican mayor has been sentenced to prison as the Justice Department cracks down on corruption in the U.S. territory. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI

Feb. 13 (UPI) -- The former mayor of the Puerto Rican city of Guaynabo has been sentenced to more than five years in prison after being convicted of using his position to award municipal contracts and expedite invoice payments in exchange for bribes.

Ángel Pérez-Otero, 54, was the mayor of Guaynabo, a suburb of San Juan, from 2017 to 2021 when he was arrested that December on allegations of regularly accepting cash bribes of $5,000 from an unidentified person in exchange for awarding contracts to a particular construction company as well as ensuring its invoices were promptly paid.

He was convicted in March of conspiracy, federal bribery and extortion.

On Monday, a judge sentenced Pérez-Otero to five years and three months in prison for the scheme that prosecutors said in court began in late 2019 and ran through May of 2021, the Justice Department said in a release.

The case is part of the Justice Department's effort to fight corruption in Puerto Rico, and federal prosecutors have secured recent convictions against several other former public officials.

In August, former Humacao Mayor Reinaldo Vargas-Rodriguez was sentenced to three years and one month behind bars for his involvement in a bribery scheme. In January of 2023, Trujillo Alto Mayor Luis Cruz-Cruz was sentenced to two years in prison on similar charges.