Judge Took a Bribe in Vehicular Homicide Case

On June 30, 2012, a car driven by Lutgardo Acevedo-Lopez, 39, a certified public accountant in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, collided with another car, resulting in the death of the other car’s driver. Acevedo-Lopez was charged with criminal vehicular homicide in connection with the incident.

The crash victim’s name is Felix Babilonia.

Instead of letting the criminal justice system run its course and reach a decision in the case, the defendant made an attempt to influence the outcome of his trial by buying off the judge.

Through an intermediary, Acevedo-Lopez bribed the judge by paying taxes for him, paying for the construction of a garage, and giving the judge a motorcycle, clothing and accessories, including cufflinks and a watch.

The plan worked. Puerto Rico Superior Court Judge Manuel Acevedo-Hernandez, 62, acquitted Acevedo-Lopez of all charges.

Both men got what was coming to them.

The judge was found guilty after a one-week trial by a federal jury of accepting bribes. Sentencing is scheduled for April 2015.

Earlier, Acevedo-Lopez pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery and paying a bribe to an agent of an organization receiving federal funds.

In other bribery matters:

  • A medical technician admitted to accepting bribes in exchange for falsifying urinalysis drug tests. William Ray Allen, 33, of Tulsa, Oklahoma, said he warned those selected for court ordered random drug testing that they were going to be tested. He also substituted his own urine or the urine of others for drug testing and submitted falsified certifications with the substituted urine for analysis. Allen then knowingly shipped the bogus urine samples via Federal Express to the U.S. Probation Drug Laboratory. He worked for a drug treatment facility contracted by the U.S. Probation Office to provide court ordered drug testing and treatment services to persons under supervision.
  • While serving as a City Council member and/or mayor pro tem, and later as the mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina, Patrick D. Cannon solicited and accepted bribes such as gifts, cash and other things of value totaling more than $50,000. He accepted the bribes from a Charlotte business owner and two undercover agents posing as investors interested in opening businesses in Charlotte, in exchange for use of his official position on an “as needed” basis. Cannon promised to use his influence with city and county officials and others to assist with business projects and to intervene with any zoning, permitting and transportation issues. He was sentenced to 44 months in prison.

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