Ex-education secretary, 4 others held in Puerto Rico probe

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Puerto Rico's former secretary of education and four other people have been arrested on charges of steering federal money to unqualified, politically connected contractors.

Federal officials said Wednesday that the FBI has arrested former Education Secretary Julia Keleher, former Puerto Rico Health Insurance Administration head Ángela Ávila-Marrero, businessman Fernando Scherrer-Caillet and education contractors Glenda E. Ponce-Mendoza and Mayra Ponce-Mendoza. They face 32 counts of fraud and related charges.

Another businessman, Alberto Velázquez-Piñol, was indicted but not yet arrested.

The alleged fraud involves $15.5 million in federal funding between 2017 and 2019. Thirteen million was spent by the Department of Education during Keleher's time as secretary, while $2.5 million was spent by the insurance administration when Ávila was the director.