Puerto Rico

Ex-FEMA, Energy Company Officials Plead Guilty in Post-Hurricane Case in Puerto Rico

They admitted accepting and offering gratuities, lesser charges than conspiracy to commit bribery and fraud, which they were indicted on in 2019

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A former FEMA official and a former president of an Oklahoma-based energy company pleaded guilty in a fraud and bribery case stemming from the repair of Puerto Rico's decimated electrical grid after Hurricane Maria in 2017.

Ahsha Tribble, who was a FEMA deputy regional administrator, and Donald Ellison, the former president of Cobra Acquisitions, each pleaded guilty Wednesday to one charge of accepting and offering gratuities in violation of a federal law prohibiting public officials from giving or receiving certain gifts of value that inure them to personal benefits.

This is the only federal case so far related to the U.S. government’s efforts to restore Puerto Rico’s electric power grid after Hurricane Maria. The grid’s destruction caused the world’s second-longest blackout, leaving many Puerto Ricans without power for more than a year.

Exchanging gratuities can result in a maximum two-year jail sentence, according to Department of Justice archives. But Tribble and Ellison may face about six months if a judge approves their latest plea agreements.

Read the full story at NBCNews.com

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