Guatemala: President’s Brother and Son Detained, Suspected of Fraud

Published: 19 January 2017

Jimmy Morales abril de 2016Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales (Photo: Presidencia de El Salvador CC0 1.0)

By N'dea Yancey-Bragg

Guatemalan authorities announced Wednesday that they detained the brother and the son of Guatemala’s president for fraud involving the use of false receipts to bill the state for social events that never took place.

The president’s brother Samuel Morales, was arrested and his son, Jose Manuel Morales turned himself in, Reuters reported.

Along with eight employees of the Guatemalan General Property Registry, the pair allegedly arranged for the agency to pay for a breakfast for 564 people and another meal for 40 in 2013. None of these events were ever organized.

They are also suspected of having manipulated the bills for 564 Christmas baskets that were delivered to employees of the Guatemalan General Property Registry. The company contracted for the job does not provide food services.

Guatemala’s UN-backed anti-corruption commission reported that the General Property Registry paid a total of 269,933 Quetzals (US$ 34,350) for the services.

Some of the money paid to these companies ended up in the bank account of Mario López, another suspect who has been charged with fraud.

Officials suspect that Jose was responsible for preparing quotes and invoices from these food service companies, some of which did not exist. Samuel Morales is suspected of facilitating the payments.