Honduras former first lady gets 14 years in prison on fraud charges

September 22, 2022 - 3:05 PM
Former first lady Rosa Elena Bonilla de Lobo arrives at a court hearing to face graft charges, in Tegucigalpa, Honduras August 20, 2019. (Reuters/Jorge Cabrera/File Photo)

 A Honduran court sentenced the country’s former first lady, Rosa Bonilla, to 14 years in prison on Wednesday on charges of fraud and misappropriation of funds destined for social programs, a judicial spokesperson said.

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, her children’s school fees and real estate construction, according to the public ministry.

Her lawyer, Juan Berganza, said he would appeal the sentence.

“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 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.

—Reporting by Gustavo Palencia; Writing by Kylie Madry; Editing by Sandra Maler