WASHINGTON – A federal jury convicted a Puerto Rican man today of 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 court documents and evidence presented at trial, Sixto Jorge Díaz Colón, 54, of San Juan, attempted to extort a public official in the Government of Puerto Rico in June 2019. Díaz Colón attempted to secure a $300,000 payment and other things of value from the official in exchange for the assurance that certain Telegram chat messages containing damaging information about various public officials in the government would not be disclosed publicly. When approached by the FBI in July 2019, Díaz Colón deleted messages containing information about his involvement in the scheme before surrendering his cellular telephone to the authorities.
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. He is scheduled to be sentenced on May 5 and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on the top counts. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow for the District of Puerto Rico, Assistant Director Luis Quesada of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division, and Special Agent in Charge Joseph González of the FBI San Juan Field Office made the announcement.
The FBI San Juan Field Office investigated the case.
Trial Attorney Michael N. Lang of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section (PIN) and Assistant U.S. Attorney Myriam Fernández-González for the District of Puerto Rico are prosecuting the case. Former PIN Trial Attorney James Pearce and Trial Attorney Byron Jones of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section also provided assistance.
originally published at HUMAN RIGHTS - USA DAILY NEWS 24