Puerto Rico’s Jose Bou-Santiago, Mario Villegas-Vargas sentenced for conspiring to pay bribes in exchange for contracts

Jose Bou-Santiago, 50, of Bayamon, Puerto Rico owns a construction company called Bou Maintenance Service. Mario Villegas-Vargas, 44, of Gurabo, Puerto Rico owns an asphalt and paving business called JR Asphalt.

Bou-Santiago and Villegas-Vargas were government contractors. They were allegedly involved in separate bribery schemes in which they gave payments to the mayor of the municipality of Cataño, Puerto Rico in exchange for the mayor’s awarding of municipal contracts to their respective companies.


In April 2019, Bou-Santiago allegedly gave the mayor of Cataño a Rolex watch in exchange for a future municipal contract for Bou Maintenance Service. In June 2019, the company was awarded a construction contract by the municipality valued at approximately $190,000.

Villegas-Vargas allegedly paid kickbacks and bribes in exchange for the mayor of Cataño exerting his influence on municipal officials to ensure that JR Asphalt was awarded municipal contracts. As a result, the company was awarded more than $9.9 million in municipal contracts in the municipality.

On February 21, 2023, Bou-Santiago was sentenced to two years in prison for conspiracy to commit federal funds bribery. On February 22, 2023, Villegas-Vargas was sentenced to 46 months in prison for conspiracy to commit federal funds bribery.


Founded on July 1, 1927, Cataño celebrates its patron saint festival called Fiestas Patronales de Nuestra Señora del Carmen every July. The municipality’s incumbent mayor is Julio Alicea Vasallo.

Camille Fabery Diana was 21 when she represented Cataño at Miss Universe Puerto Rico 2022 on August 11, 2022 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She was second runner-up to Ashley Cariño, 28, of Fajardo, who finished in the Top 5 at Miss Universe 2022.

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