Puerto Rico mayor resigns, pleads guilty to accepting kickbacks in exchange for municipal contracts

Felix Delgado-Montalvo of the New Progressive Party had pleaded guilty to facilitating millions in illegal contracts

Updated: December 2, 2021 - 2:08pm

A mayor in Puerto Rico has pleaded guilty to accepting kickbacks in the form of cash payments for awarding municipal contracts to an asphalt company and the contractor who facilitated thee bribes has been arrested, the Justice Department announced Thursday

Felix Delgado-Montalvo, the 46-year-old former mayor of the municipality of Cataño – pleaded resigning from his post Tuesday and on Wednesday pleaded guilty to illegally enriched himself by accepting bribes in exchange for lucrative development contracts, including one worth close to $50,000.

Subsequently, contractor Mario Villegas-Vargas, 42, was indicted for allegedly paying kickbacks to the mayor in exchange for a series of contracts worth close to $10 million for his company. The scheme began, Justice officials say, in or around June 2017.

The former mayor, a member of the territory's New Progressive Party, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to solicit and accept bribes. He will be sentenced in early March of next year and faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison. 

Villegas-Vargas has been charged with conspiracy to pay bribes, bribery, and use of an  interstate facility in aid of racketeering. If convicted on all counts, he could face a maximum of 20 years in prison. 

The investigation into the two men was conducted by the FBI's San Juan Field Office.