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  • Ramon Orto (R) was appointed sports secretary in 2013.

    Ramon Orto (R) was appointed sports secretary in 2013. | Photo: EFE

Published 21 June 2017

Ramon Orta is one of seven indicted on suspicion of a fraud by the federal grand jury.

The FBI arrested former Puerto Rican Sports Secretary Ramon Orta in his home early Wednesday morning.

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Orta is one of seven indicted on suspicion of a fraud by a federal grand jury. Federal agents have arrested six of the accused, the seventh surrendering this morning, FBI spokesperson Carlos Osorio reported in Puerto Rico.

"The case is being worked on with the Office of the Inspector General of the Federal Department of Education on charges of public corruption," Osorio said. "The charges vary according to the role each one played. Those details will be given by the federal prosecutor at 11:00 a.m.," the agent stated.

According to local media, it’s unclear whether Orta has an attorney. However, Osorio stated federal agents will proceed with the investigation and will provide further details following a press conference Wednesday by head of the federal prosecutor’s office, Rosa Emilia Rodriguez.

Former Puerto Rican Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla has expressed frustration and shock on hearing the rising allegations against his former secretary, as it was during his mandate that the alleged crime was committed.

“Mr. Orto was a government official in whom the people of Puerto Rico and I put our trust to carry out his duties in compliance with the law. If the allegations against him are proven, he will certainly have failed to take responsibility and honor the people,” said the former governor.

He continued, “Given that (the seven) are presumed to be innocent, I hope that the process will serve to know the whole truth and that, in the end, those found guilty, if any, will comply with the penalties imposed on them.”

The former secretary’s arrest comes six months after a raid at the Department of Recreation and Sports offices by federal officers of search of evidence "federal anomalies and irregularities in education programs," according to Puerto Rico’s FBI special Agent Douglas Leff.

At the time, Leff stated agents were investigating the company’s computer files and documents for criminal activity. He speculated there could be millions of dollars hoarded over the course of the five year fraud scam.

Orta worked as Special Assistant to David Bernier, former Secretary of State under Garcia Padilla, prior to being appointed sports secretary in 2013.

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