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Puerto Rico judge convicted of taking bribes to clear vehicular homicide defendant

A federal jury convicted a sitting Puerto Rico superior court judge Wednesday of taking bribes to acquit a businessman of vehicular homicide charges.

Judge Manuel Acevedo-Hernandez, 62, was found guilty by a jury in Puerto Rico after a one-week trial of conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery and receipt of a bribe by an agent of an organization receiving federal funds. 

Sentencing is scheduled for April 20 before Chief U.S. District Judge Aida Delgado-Colon of the District of Puerto Rico.

Acevedo-Hernandez presided over a case involving Lutgardo Acevedo-Lopez, 39, a prominent public accountant in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. 

In June 2012, Acevedo-Lopez had a car crash that killed the driver of another car. Acevedo-Lopez was charged with criminal vehicular homicide. 

Judge Acevedo-Hernandez, a supervisory superior court judge in the Aguadilla judicial region of Puerto Rico, acquitted Acevedo-Lopez of all charges.

In a plea agreement, Acevedo-Lopez admitted bribing the judge by paying taxes he owed, paying for construction of a new garage at Judge Hernandez’s house, and giving him a motorcycle, clothing, and cufflinks and a watch.

Acevedo-Lopez pleaded guilty in August last year to conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery and paying a bribe to an agent of an organization receiving federal funds.

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Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.

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