On February 3, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the conviction of Sixto Jorge Díaz Colón, of San Juan, for  extortion and obstruction of justice related to his involvement in “a scheme to obtain money in exchange for preventing the release of chat messages involving senior officials in the Government of Puerto Rico.”

According to evidence presented at trial, Díaz Colón attempted to extort a public official in the Government of Puerto Rico in 2019 by demanding a $300,000 payment and other valuables from the official in exchange for the assurance that certain Telegram chat messages containing damaging information about various public officials in the government would remain concealed. When approached by the FBI in July 2019, Díaz Colón deleted the messages that contained information about his involvement in the scheme before surrendering his cell phone to the authorities.

According to the indictment, in June of 2019,  the Secretary of Public Affairs for the Governor’s mansion and the Executive Director for the Ports Authority (Person 4) met Díaz Colón at a restaurant in San Juan. During that meeting, Díaz Colón told Person 4 that a former Government subcontractor had a binder full of Telegram messages that would destroy the then Governor of Puerto Rico, his close associates, and other members of his political party. Díaz Colón asked Person 4 to help him with several government contracts through which he received compensation. A month later, media outlets in Puerto Rico, publicly released eleven pages of Telegram messages involving the Governor and others.  

Díaz Colón was convicted in the District of Puerto Rico of one count of attempted extortion, one count of interstate extortion, and one count of obstruction of justice. His sentencing is scheduled for May 5, and he faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on the top counts. 

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