Puerto Rico nonprofit director sentenced in fatal arson case

Oct 26, 2022, 8:02 PM | Updated: Oct 27, 2022, 8:12 am

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — The director of a nonprofit that helped disabled people in Puerto Rico was sentenced to more than 12 years in prison after pleading guilty in a case in which his center was set on fire by three other suspects, one of whom died in the act, officials said Thursday.

Rafael García Sánchez was accused of conspiring to set fire to the Organization for Helping People with Disabilities in July 2016 and filing a fraudulent $250,000 insurance claim, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

One of the suspects in the case died of burns when starting the fire, authorities said, adding that the other suspects staged an accident scene and originally told police the man was burned while working on an electric generator.

The two other suspects have pled guilty and are in prison. One of them is García’s nephew, who was the half-brother of the suspect who died. The other suspect was a friend of theirs, prosecutor Alexander Alum told The Associated Press.

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Puerto Rico nonprofit director sentenced in fatal arson case