Former Director of Public Works in Guayama Pleads Guilty to Accepting Bribes in Exchange for Certifying Completion of Municipal Asphalt Projects

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The former Director of Public Works in the Municipality of Guayama, Puerto Rico, Ramón Conde-Meléndez, pleaded guilty today in Puerto Rico to engaging in a bribery conspiracy in which he received cash payments in exchange for certifying the completion of asphalt projects which was required for the approval of payments from the Municipality of Guayama to an asphalt and paving company.

According to court documents, in 2019 and 2021, Ramón Conde-Meléndez agreed to receive and did receive multiple kickback payments from Individual A, an owner of an asphalt and paving company, equaling approximately $1.00 for each square meter of asphalt removed by the company in the municipality of Guayama. The total value of the kickback payments received by the defendant from Individual A exceeded $15,000.

Conde-Meléndez pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to engage in a bribery scheme.  He faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

U.S. Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow for the District of Puerto Rico, and Special Agent in Charge Joseph González of the FBI San Juan Field Office made the announcement.

The investigation was conducted by the FBI’s San Juan Field Office.

Trial Attorney Nicholas W. Cannon of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and Assistant United States Attorney Seth A. Erbe of the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico are prosecuting the case.

This case is part of the Justice Department’s ongoing efforts to combat public corruption by municipal officials in Puerto Rico. In addition to the above matters, the Public Integrity Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico have recently obtained convictions against other former public officials and contractors in the District of Puerto Rico for soliciting and accepting bribes related to municipal contracts. See United States v. Luis Arroyo-Chiqués, 21-485 (SCC); United States v. Eduardo Cintrón-Suárez, 22-151 (SCC); United States v. Félix Delgado-Montalvo, 21-463 (RAM); United States v. Oscar Santamaria-Torres, 21-464 (RAM); United States v. Raymond Rodríguez, 21-465 (RAM). 

Additionally, the Department recently obtained indictments charging several former officials and contractors with bribery related to municipal contracts, and those cases are still pending.  See United States v. Mario Villegas-Vargas, 21-468 (FAB); United States v. Ángel Pérez-Otero, 21-474 (ADC); and United States v. Radamés Benítez-Cardona, 21-475 (PAD); United States v. Javier García-Pérez, 22-185 (ADC); United States v. Reinaldo Vargas-Rodríguez, 22-186 (PAD).

An indictment is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.


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