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Former Honduran first lady sentenced to prison for embezzlement

Between 2010 and 2014, Bonilla embezzled more than $1 million in government funds

September 22, 2022 5:10am

Updated: September 22, 2022 10:06am

Former Honduran First Lady Rosa Elena Bonilla de Lobo was sentenced to 14 years in prison on Wednesday on corruption charges, making it the second time she has been sentenced.

The first lady had been previously convicted and sentenced to 58 years in prison. However, the conviction was dismissed in 2020 because of inconsistencies in the process. The Supreme Court ordered a re-trial and Bonilla was convicted of fraud and embezzlement in March of this year.

Between 2010 and 2014, Bonilla embezzled more than $1 million in government funds when her husband Porfirio Lobo was president. Additionally, Bonilla spent around $590,000 meant for social programs for low-income children on her personal credit card payments, her children’s school fees, and real estate, according to the public ministry.

"The former First Lady Rosa Elena Bonilla has been sentenced to 14 years and one month in prison for the crimes of continued fraud and misappropriation of public funds destined for social programs," Carlos Silva, a spokesman for the Supreme Court of Justice, told reporters.

Bonilla can appeal the sentence within 20 days, according to court spokesman Carlos Silva. Her lawyer, Juan Berganza, said he would appeal.

Last year, former president Lobo was barred by the U.S. from entering the country due to allegations of drug trafficking.

Bonilla’s private secretary Saul Escobar was also sentenced on Wednesday to seven years and three months in prison for fraud.