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Ex-Puerto Rico mayor pleads guilty to bribery scheme with asphalt company

Ex-Puerto Rico mayor pleads guilty to bribery scheme with asphalt company
Federal investigators said former Catano Mayor Felix Delgado-Montalvo awarded about $10 million in government contracts to an asphalt and paving company. In return, he was given more than $100,000 in cash. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 2 (UPI) -- The former mayor of a seaside town in northern Puerto Rico has pleaded guilty to a charge of criminal corruption over dozens of contracts he awarded over a four-year period that earned him lucrative kickbacks, authorities said Thursday.

The U.S. Justice Department said the former Catano mayor, Felix Delgado-Montalvo, pleaded guilty to a count of conspiracy to solicit and accept bribes.

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Officials said he received cash payments and several luxury watches from a construction company after he awarded it 50 contracts between 2017 and 2020.

"Delgado-Montalvo unjustly enriched himself by accepting bribes, including cash payments from a particular person, whose business ... would then benefit by being rewarded municipal contracts, including a contract worth nearly $50,000," the department said in a statement.

Delgado-Montalvo resigned as Catano mayor on Tuesday.

Officials said Delgado-Montalvo agreed as part of a plea agreement to forfeit $105,000 in proceeds from the illegal kickback scheme.

The owner of the asphalt and paving company, Mario Villegas-Vargas, has been indicted for giving the bribes to Delgado-Montalvo. The value of the contracts that his company received totaled about $10 million, authorities said.

Villegas-Vargas has been charged with conspiracy, bribery and use of an interstate facility in aid of racketeering. He faces up to 20 years in prison.

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Delgado-Montalvo will be sentenced on March 8 and faces up to five years in prison.

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