Puerto Rico governor indicted on 27 counts of election fraud

[JURIST] A federal grand jury in San Juan, Puerto Rico charged Puerto Rican Governor Anibal Acevedo Vila [official website, in Spanish] and 12 associates with 27 counts of conspiracy, false statements, wire fraud, federal program fraud and tax crimes related to campaign financing, and other crimes in an indictment [PDF text; press release] unsealed Thursday. The charges stem from the alleged improper financing of Vila's 1999-2000 and 2001-2002 campaigns to become Puerto's Resident Commissioner in the US House of Representatives and his 2004 gubernatorial campaign. Prosecutors allege that Vila and his associates violated the Federal Election Campaign Act [text] by authorizing "illegal and unreported contributions to pay off large and unreported debts" incurred during Vila's campaigns.

Vila is a member of the Popular Democratic Party [party website, in Spanish], which does not support full US statehood for the Commonwealth. He narrowly defeated former governor and pro-statehood candidate Pedro Rossello [campaign website, in Spanish] in a disputed gubernatorial election [JURIST report] in 2004. Reuters has more.

 

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