Honduras First Lady, Rosa Elena Bonilla Sentenced To 58 Years In Jail For $779,000 Fraud

September 7, 2019
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The former first lady of Honduras, Rosa Elena Bonilla, wife of ex-president Porfirio Lobo, was sentenced to 58 years in prison on charges of fraud and undue appropriation of funds.

Bonilla, 52, was found guilty of misappropriating $779,000 (£635,000) from international donations and public funds meant to be used for social programmes during the four years her husband Porfirio Lobo was in power.

Prosecutors said she had used the money to buy jewellery and to pay for medical bills and her children’s tuition.

Bonilla has been in custody since February 2018 following an investigation into the disappearance of money from public funds, including a budget designed to provide shoes for poor Honduran children.

Her lawyer said Bonilla was innocent and an appeal would be filed with the Honduras Supreme Court.

The court also sentenced Bonilla’s personal assistant, Saul Escobar, to a 48-year jail sentence for embezzlement of public funds and fraud, Supreme Court spokesman Carlos Silva said.

Even if Bonilla and Escobar do not have their sentences overturned or reduced, they will only serve 30 years at most, which is the maximum allowed by Honduran law.

It is not the first time a member of the Lobo family has been sentenced. Porfirio Lobo’s oldest son, Fabio, was sentenced to 24 years in prison in 2017 after pleading guilty to charges of conspiring to import cocaine to the US.

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