April 13, 2021

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Rep. Charbonier to leave House of Representatives seat – Caribbean Business

María Milagros Charbonier (File Photo)

Federal grand jury had indicted the lawmaker earlier this week on corruption charges

SAN JUAN – Puerto Rico Rep. María Milagros Charbonier has resigned from her legislative seat at the Puerto Rico House of Representatives, effective Sept. 15, she tweeted Wednesday.

Charbonier, who was arrested by the FBI and indicted by a federal grand jury on corruption charges last Monday alongside three others, including her husband and son, gave her letter of resignation to House Speaker Carlos “Johnny ”Méndez, after statements from the speaker indicating he would file a complaint before the House Ethics Committee if Charbonier chose to remain in her seat.

Earlier this week, Charbonier stepped down from her position in the New Progressive Party (NPP), but indicated she would remain in her legislative position as an independent. With her resignation, Charbonier is also relinquishing the chair of the House Judicial, Civil Code and Penal Code committees.

As detailed in a grand jury indictment filed Aug. 7, Charbonier illegally inflated the salary of one of her employees, Frances Acevedo , by $ 2,900 a month, under the condition that she pay a commission of $ 1,000 to $ 1,500 a month to Charbonier, her husband, Orlando Montes, and son Orlando Gabriel Montes-Charbonier.

Through the alleged scheme, which began in September 2017 , Acevedo, who is also among those arrested, paid Charbonier either with cash or through ATH Móvil, a money-transferring mobile application.

In all, the indictment lists 13 charges ranging from federal funds theft, bribery and kickbacks to honest services wire fraud, money laundering and conspiracy. One last charge, obstruction of justice, alleges that Charbonier — who heads the House Ethics Committee — deleted messages from the chat application Whatsapp as soon as she found out about the FBI probe.

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