President Donald Trump argued for over a year that there was mass corruption taking place in Puerto Rico with government funds following Hurricane Maria in 2017 — and it was just revealed that he was correct the entire time.
Back in September, federal authorities charged and arrested two former top Federal Emergency Management Agency officials and a Federal Emergency Management Agency contractor in Puerto Rico last week in a massive corruption investigation.
This week, a Puerto Rico senator awaiting trial on fraud charges was taken into custody by federal authorities in connection with an investigation into alleged corruption that also resulted in the arrests of seven others.
Abel Nazario, a 49-year-old currently serving in the U.S. territory’s 26th Senate, was apprehended as part of the probe.
Nazario was previously arrested by federal authorities in September 2018 on charges of wire fraud and falsifying documents, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico.
He was accused of defrauding his employees while serving as the mayor of Yauco, a southwestern town in Puerto Rico, where he was an elected official from 2000 until December 2016.
Prosecutors allege that, while he was mayor, municipal employees were required “to work two voluntary hours per day” — which the U.S. Department of Labor determined was a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Nazario agreed to pay nearly $590,000 in back wages to 177 employees.
Authorities, however, said they later learned the city of Yauco was withholding employees’ wages, despite Nazario’s pledge that he would not retaliate against workers.
Nazario benefited from the money withheld from employees, investigators said. Then-Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló — who resigned in August amid protests — asked for Nazario’s resignation, but he refused to step down.
FBI arrests Puerto Rico Senator Abel Nazario and 7 other people who were government employees for allegedly conspiring to commit fraud. https://t.co/8KHvtZeQkx
— NBC News (@NBCNews) November 6, 2019
“These defendants were supposed to come to Puerto Rico to help during the recovery after the devastation suffered from Hurricane Maria. Instead, they decided to take advantage of the precarious conditions of our electric power grid and engaged in a bribery and honest services wire fraud scheme in order to enrich themselves illegally,” U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodriguez-Velez said in a statement.
Back in September, former deputy regional administrator Ahsha Nateef Tribble; Jovanda Patterson, Tribble’s chief of staff; and Donald Keith Ellison, former President of Cobra Acquisitions, LLC, were arrested on charges including “conspiracy to commit bribery, honest services wire fraud and disaster fraud.”
The arrests came after Democrats spent years attacking Trump for criticizing Puerto Rico’s response to Hurricane Maria when the storm devastated parts of the U.S. territory.
Trump has been calling out and blasting Puerto Rico for its botched emergency responses and the long recovery period.
Democrats endlessly claimed that Trump failed to help Puerto Rico and that he was wrong to shine a line on the corruption, but the indictments and arrests prove he was right.