On August 11, 2022, a federal grand jury in the District of Puerto Rico returned an indictment charging 7 defendants with running a criminal enterprise dedicated to extorting and misleading shipping companies into paying fees for the loading and unloading of cargo at the Port of San Juan.
ore specifically, the defendants made false representations that companies had to pay a fee in order to be able to use “union-free labor” for the loading and unloading of cargo, announced W. Stephen Muldrow, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico.
The indictment includes a forfeiture allegation related to the total value of the loss, approximately $1,184,524.26, and one residential property, a vehicle, and a boat.
Pursuant to the indictment, 4 people are charged with running the fraudulent and extortionate scheme against shipping companies using Piers 9, 10, and 11. Members of the enterprise took some of the money made from the scheme and concealed it in JCPY and as payments to ILA-1740’s employee benefit plan called Plan de Bienestar UTM-PRSSA (the “Plan”).
Furthermore, 5 people are also charged in the indictment for their participation in an agreement to take funds and falsify records of the Plan. Namely, some defendants would do “chimbos”. This is slang for a person who uses the union card of another individual when working at the docks so that it appears that the union member is working.
Because it appeared that the person on the union card was working, the hours worked were fraudulently counted.