SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – A federal grand jury for the District of Puerto Rico has returned an indictment charging defendants Elieser Feliciano-Soto and José E. Santana-Criado with agreeing to benefit and enrich themselves by obtaining money and property belonging to Medtronic Medical CR SRL (Medtronic-CR) through a wire fraud scheme. The defendants are also charged with money laundering conspiracy involving transactions, using the stolen goods, exceeding $10,000. The indictment includes an allegation of forfeiture related to the total value of the loss, approximately $1,151,296.38, and two residential properties.
As alleged in the indictment, Medtronic-CR was a Costa Rican limited liability company that manufactured orthopedic components used for spine surgery devices and spine surgery procedures, which are distributed and sold worldwide. As part of its expansion plans, around 2017 Medtronic-CR set out to build a new manufacturing facility in Coyol Alajuela, Costa Rica.
Elieser Feliciano-Soto was the site manager of Medtronic-CR and was responsible for overseeing the construction of the new manufacturing facility. José E. Santana-Criado, a contractor for Medtronic-CR, organized Innovative Engineering Corp. and Innovative Engineering LLC (collectively referred to as Innovative) in Puerto Rico. Defendants used Innovative to fraudulently obtain payments from Medtronic-CR for the alleged provision of services that were never rendered.
Elieser Feliciano-Soto used his position as site manager to authorize purchase orders issued by Innovative in an attempt to defraud Medtronic-CR. The purchase orders authorized the provision of services by Innovative. After purchase orders were approved, defendants submitted fraudulent invoices from Innovative to Medtronic-CR for services that were never provided. Innovative would then receive wire transfers from Medtronic-CR’s bank account in Costa Rica to Innovative’s bank account at Banco Popular de Puerto Rico (BPPR) corresponding to Innovative’s bill payments.
The defendants then transferred the wire fraud proceeds from Innovative’s bank account to other accounts they controlled at BPPR and Baxter Credit Union (BCU) in Illinois. The proceeds of the wire fraud were used for financial enrichment, including to pay mortgages on real estate in Cabo Rojo and Humacao, Puerto Rico.
Pursuant to the indictment, the defendants are charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud in violation of 18 USC § 1349 and money laundering conspiracy in violation of 18 USC § 1956(h). If found guilty, the defendants face a sentence of up to 20 years in prison for each offence.
U.S. Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow of the District of Puerto Rico; and Joseph González, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI made the announcement.
The FBI is investigating the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Víctor O. Acevedo-Hernández is prosecuting the case.
An indictment is only an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt by a court.