Puerto Rico legislator accused in federal corruption case

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — A Puerto Rico legislator reelected two days ago was arrested Thursday on federal corruption charges, including bribery and wire fraud.

Néstor Alonso Vega is accused of more than doubling the salary of one unidentified employee and then demanding half of it in return in a scheme that began in 2018, according to U.S. Attorney Stephen Muldrow.

He said Vega received the money via direct deposit into his bank and a Home Depot account. After one pay raise, the employee reportedly was earning $2,270 every two weeks.

Vega has pleaded not guilty.

He has served four years in Puerto Rico’s House of Representatives and is the president of the Commission on Tourism and Social Well Being. Several government officials have asked him to resign since his arrest.

The alleged scheme is similar to those federal authorities say were run by former Puerto Rico representatives Nelson del Valle and María Milagros “Tata” Charbonier, who were arrested in August and have since resigned.

All three are members of the governor’s pro-statehood New Progressive Party.

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