FBI Arrests Top FEMA Officials Over Puerto Rico Corruption Scam, Proving Trump Right
Federal Emergency Management Agency admin arrested by feds during investigation
The FBI has arrested several top officials in Puerto Rico in connection with a massive FEMA corruption scam, according to reports.
Feds picked up two former top FEMA officials and a Federal Emergency Management Agency contractor on Tuesday amid the FBI's massive corruption investigation.
Ahsha Nateef Tribble, the former deputy regional administrator; Tribble’s chief of staff, Jovanda Patterson; and the ex-president of Cobra Acquisitions, LLC, Donald Keith Ellison, were arrested on federal corruption charges.
The charges include “conspiracy to commit bribery, honest services wire fraud and disaster fraud,” according to CBS News.
The arrests come after two years after Puerto Rico’s response to Hurricane Maria in 2017 when the storm devastated parts of the U.S. territory.
Democrats attacked President Donald Trump for criticizing the relief response and accusing officials of corruption.
According to Western Journal, Trump has spent the same amount of time blaming Puerto Rico for botched emergency responses and the long recovery period.
Trump’s longstanding claims, however, have now been at least somewhat justified given the nature of the recent arrests.
BREAKING: The FEMA official in Puerto Rico, in charge of power restoration after Hurricane Maria, has been arrested by the FBI, as has the fmr. CEO of Cobra Energy (which got $1.8B in contracts) & a 2nd FEMA official...all accused of enriching themselves & defrauding the fed govt pic.twitter.com/bhl2a4hi2D— David Begnaud (@DavidBegnaud) September 10, 2019
Tribble was FEMA’s Region II Deputy Regional Administrator assigned to power recovery in the devastated region, according to official documents posted on Twitter by CBS reporter David Begnaud.
Ellison was president of Cobra Acquisitions, LLC, which CBS reported was “the main contractor for the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority” and which “executed two contracts with the agency for a total value of $1.8 billion.”
According to the documents, Patterson resigned from FEMA so that she could work at Cobra Energy, LLC.
The trio allegedly used Tribble’s position and influence to enrich themselves during their deployment to restore Puerto Rico’s power grid after the storm.
That $1.8 billion in contracts was paid to Cobra through the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority using FEMA funds.
As time passed, the allegation states, Ellison tried to influence Tribble with gifts such as “personal helicopter use, hotel accommodations, airfare, personal security services, and the use of a credit card.”
“In exchange, Tribble performed official acts, including influence, advising, and exerting pressure on PREPA and FEMA officials, in order to award restoration work to COBRA and accelerate payments to COBRA.”
Tribble and Ellison are facing forfeiture of nearly $5 million.
“These defendants were supposed to come to Puerto Rico to help during the recovery after the devastation suffered from Hurricane Maria,” U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodriguez-Velez said in a statement, according to CBS.
"Instead, they decided to take advantage of the precarious conditions of our electric power grid and engaged in a bribery and honest services wire fraud scheme in order to enrich themselves illegally."
The arrests and scandal are a blow to anti-Trumpers who claim the president was responsible for Puerto Rico’s slow recovery.
Following Hurricane Maria, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz attacked Trump for allegedly mishandling the disaster response, despite the fact that emergency management experts praised the president’s actions.
The San Juan mayor and others made it clear that they held Trump responsible.
“We are dying, and you (Trump) are killing us with the inefficiency and the bureaucracy,” she said during a television conference in early October 2017.