by Janeka Simon (VI Consortium) Relatives of Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Pierluisi have pleaded guilty to embezzling millions of federal dollars destined for public housing in the territory.
Walter and Eduardo Pierluisi, two of the governor’s cousins, admitted to charges of federal funds theft following a raid of Walter’s business American Management & Administration (AMAC) by Federal Bureau of Investigations agents. Eduardo and a third co-defendant, David Vélez, were employed by the company.
AMAC had received $73 million in contracts to administer over 5000 units of public housing in the territory in the almost 30 years since it was established. In that time, “the defendants and their company harmed the integrity of a program designed to help underprivileged homeowners” by siphoning off approximately $3.7 million of those federal funds, said Stephen Muldrow, U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico.
Their guilty pleas will result in a 37-month jail sentence for Walter Pierluisi, 58 and anywhere from 24 to 37 months for 52-year-old Eduardo Pierluisi, who may ask for consideration for a sentence near the lower boundary due to health issues. Mr. Vélez is expected to plead guilty as well.