Prominent Puerto Rican Lawmaker Convicted of Federal Corruption Charges

San Juan, Puerto Rico – María Milagros “Tata” Charbonier, a well-known former legislator in Puerto Rico who is popular with conservatives, has been found guilty of federal charges related to corruption. Charbonier, an attorney who served in Puerto Rico’s House of Representatives from 2013 to 2020 and was the secretary general of the pro-statehood New Progressive Party, was indicted in August 2020. The charges against her included conspiracy, money laundering, theft, bribery, kickbacks involving federally funded programs, and obstruction of justice. She was also accused of destroying data on her mobile phone.

Following the trial, Charbonier briefly commented to reporters, stating, “That’s the way it is. This is the democracy we live in, and we have to move forward.” The U.S. Department of Justice alleged that Charbonier had operated a scheme from 2017 to 2020, inflating her assistant’s bi-weekly salary from $800 to $2,900 and pocketing some of the funds. Prosecutors estimated that Charbonier had taken a total of $100,000 during that period.

Charbonier’s attorney, Francisco Rebollo, plans to appeal the jury’s verdict, alleging that they had erred in their decision. Sentencing for Charbonier is scheduled for April. In addition to Charbonier, her assistant, Frances Acevedo Ceballos, pleaded guilty to the charges last year. Charbonier’s son and husband were also indicted, with Charbonier’s son entering a pre-trial diversion program and her husband, Orlando Montes Rivera, being found guilty on almost all the same charges as his wife.

María Milagros “Tata” Charbonier, a prominent figure in Puerto Rican politics, has been found guilty of federal corruption charges. The charges against her included conspiracy, money laundering, theft, bribery, kickbacks, and obstruction of justice. Charbonier was known for her role in the New Progressive Party and her service in the House of Representatives. Her sentencing is set for April, and her attorney plans to appeal the conviction.