Dominican Republic Judge Orders Custody for Executives of Financial Institution

The Dominican Republic's Public Prosecutor's Office remanded in custody four executives of a financial institution located in the country's capital for their participation in a fraud scheme that embezzled more than US$40 million. Another three were put under house arrest.

Domenican Republic ProsecutorThe order of coercive measures for the implicated was carried out by the Public Prosecutor's Office of the Dominican Republic. (Photo: Ronny Medina, Wikimedia, License)The executives, arrested on October 4, belonged to the Cooperativa de Ahorros y Crédito Herrera (Coop-Herrera), a company dedicated to providing financial services such as credit, loans, and savings accounts. They worked as directors, administrators, managers, auditors, and associates.

Jorge Eligio Méndez, Gabriel Santana Borsilea, Julio César Minaya, and Jacer Eliazar Mejía Pereyra have been remanded in preventive detention for a period of 18 months, as per the orders of the Public Prosecutor's Office. For the remaining three defendants in the case, the Public Prosecutor's Office has imposed various coercive measures, including house arrest, posting economic guarantees, making periodic appearances, and preventing them from leaving the country.

Under the title Operación Búho(Operation Owl), the Public Prosecutor's Office conducted an investigation that lasted several months and resulted in the detention of the seven suspects  that have then been charged with criminal association, falsification of public and private documents, and identity theft.

"The Public Prosecutor's Office mobilized more than 20 prosecutors, around 100 police officers, and a dozen agents of special teams. The Institute of Development and Cooperative Credit (Idecoop) and several individuals filed complaints against Coop-Herrera executives," stated the Public Prosecutor's Office.

According to the Public Prosecutor's Office, the accused engaged in fraudulent maneuvers against the administration and money laundering. The executives developed a scheme that allowed them to simulate loans and issue inorganic financial certificates, among other actions, in order to divert money from members of the company and savers.

The Public Prosecutor's Office ordered preventive detention of 18 months for Jorge Eligio Méndez, Gabriel Santana Borsilea, Julio César Minaya, and Jacer Eliazar Mejía Pereyra. It also issued coercive measures such as house arrest, economic guarantee, periodic presentations, and impediments to leaving the country to other three defendants of the case.

"Operation Owl is the result of a joint investigation work carried out for months by the General Directorate of Prosecution of the Public Prosecutor's Office, the Financial Investigation Unit, and the Prosecutor's Office of Santo Domingo West," stated the Public Prosecutor's Office.

A mandatory review of the measures was ordered by the judge for January 22, 2024, and the control hearing for June 24, 2024.