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Puerto Rico Man Charged With Contract Fraud Related To Courthouse, Coast Guard

CHARLOTTE AMALIE – Reinaldo Cruz Taura, president of Puerto Rico-based RCT Mechanical Engineering, was charged with providing kickbacks for federal government work in St. Croix and Puerto Rico, authorities said.

The charges against Taura are in connection with federal government subcontracts to perform work on the federal building and courthouse in Estate Golden Rock, St. Croix and on various U.S. Coast Guard facilities in Puerto Rico, U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert said today.

According to the Information filed in the case, from June 2011 through June 2015, Taura paid over $1.2 million in kickbacks to a senior project manager for the prime contractor on the St. Croix and Puerto Rico projects.

The Information also alleges that Taura falsely inflated the expenses billed under the subcontract in order to cover the costs of the aforementioned kickbacks.

This case is being investigated by the General Services Administration–Office of the Inspector General, the Department of Veterans Affairs-Office of the Inspector General, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the USDA–Office of the Inspector General, the Coast Guard Investigative Service, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Nathan Brooks.

Shappert said that an information is merely a formal charging document, and it is not in and of itself evidence of guilt.

“Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless found guilty,” she said.

U.S. District Court in Golden Rock, St. Croix
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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 50 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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