Former First Lady jailed for 14 years for fraud

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A former First Lady of Honduras, Rosa Bonilla on Wednesday was sentenced to 14 years in prison by a court in the country over fraud.

It was learnt that Rosa Bonilla was charged with fraud and misappropriation of funds meant for social programmes.

Swiss Info reports that Bonilla, wife of former President Porfirio Lobo, spent some 12.2 million lempiras (then worth around $590,000) meant for low-income children on personal credit card payments on her children’s school fees and real estate construction.

“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.

She embezzled more than $1 million in government funds between 2010 and 2014, when her husband Porfirio Lobo was president. Last year, the United States government barred former president Lobo from entering the country due to allegations of drug trafficking.

However, her lawyer, Juan Berganza, said he would appeal the sentence, as Bonilla will be allowed to appeal the sentence within 20 days, court spokesman Carlos Silva said.

In July, Bonilla and Lobo’s 23-year-old son Said Omar Lobo Bonilla was killed along with three others when they were ambushed by gunmen leaving a club in the capital.

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

This is the second time Bonilla had been sentenced.

Bonilla had previously been sentenced to 58 years in prison in an earlier trial, which Honduras’ Supreme Court annulled in early 2020, arguing it was full of inconsistencies.

The Supreme Court ordered a re-trial by a lower court, which found Bonilla guilty in March of this year.