Banker's Unsolved Murder Gets Much Stranger

Bloomberg looks into unsolved case of Maurice Spagnoletti
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 11, 2016 12:05 PM CDT
Updated Jul 16, 2016 4:55 PM CDT
Banker's Unsolved Murder Gets Much Stranger
File photo of a caiman. One of these may have been involved in a ritual at the struggling Doral Bank in Puerto Rico.   (AP Photo/Jorge Saenz)

In 2011, a New Jersey transplant named Maurice Spagnoletti was gunned down in Puerto Rico while driving home from work. The murder, which remains unsolved, made international headlines given Spagnoletti's work: He was a 57-year-old bank executive who was trying to turn around the failing Doral Bank in San Juan when he was killed. Had he uncovered fraud and made enemies in the process? The FBI is still investigating, but at Bloomberg, Zeke Faux looks into the case and finds that "the real story of Maurice Spagnoletti's murder may be more bizarre than anyone knew." He's referring to allegations that the bank—with the knowledge of the former GE exec brought on as CEO in 2006—had a high priest of the local Santeria religion on its payroll, under the guise of janitorial services, to help protect the bank with rituals that may have on one occasion involved bringing an alligator-like caiman into a conference room.

Spagnoletti's widow filed a lawsuit in 2013 alleging that her husband had uncovered fraud at the bank, in the form of unauthorized payments of $30,000 a week to someone, though she later withdrew the suit because of a lack of evidence. "If Spagnoletti knew about Doral's Santeria circle or the idea that the payments might have been not fraud but a reward for supernaturally assisting the bank, he kept it from his wife," writes Faux. Yes, there's a reason the piece is laid out almost like a screenplay, complete with "cast of characters." The FBI says it's closing in on the killers and offered a $20,000 reward for information in June, and Spagnoletti's widow added $10,000 of her own. "Justice is coming," she tells Faux. Click for the full story. (More Puerto Rico stories.)

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