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Keleher pleads not guilty to new charges in corruption case

By on August 13, 2020

Julia Keleher (CB file)

SAN JUAN — The former chief of Puerto Rico’s Department of Education, Julia Keleher, pled not guilty to corruption charges filed against her in a superseding indictment that a federal grand jury submitted Aug. 10.

Keleher did not attend a hearing on the matter at the San Juan Federal Court on Thursday, instead submitting a written statement through her attorney, Mara Domínguez, and addressed to federal Judge Pedro Delgado.

Apart from Keleher, the other co-defendants in the ongoing corruption case include the former head of the state government’s Health Insurance Administration (ASES by its Spanish acronym), Ángela Ávila, former government consultant Alberto Velázquez; the former president of accounting firm BDO, Fernando Scherrer; Keleher’s former assistant at the Department of Education, Glenda Ponce, and Ponce’s sister Mayra, owner of local firm Colón & Ponce.

A seventh co-defendant in the case, former CPA Society President Aníbal Jover was arrested Tuesday. While there were originally 32 charges against the defendants, ranging from electronic fraud to conspiracy to commit money laundering, the charges in the superseding indictment now total 98.

Keleher, who has maintained her innocence throughout the process, is slated to be placed on trial in 2021. If found guilty, she faces up to 20 years in prison.

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