Thursday, February 28, 2013

Bail Denied For Gordillo Morales, The Mexican SNTE Teachers Union Leader

Elba Esther Gordillo Morales

Gordillo Morales and three of assistants were denied bail on Wednesday. They allegedly embezzled $200M dollars of union funds to pay off personal bills totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars for plastic surgeries, credit cards, luxury homes, jet plane service, several foreign companies and a Neiman Marcus store account, according to the criminal complaint.

By H. Nelson Goodson
February 28, 2013

Mexico City, Mexico - On Wednesday, Elba Esther Gordillo Morales, 68, aka, "La Maestra, Teacher" and three of her administrative aids appeared at a Mexican federal court hearing where a judge denied bail for all of them. Gordillo Morales was taken into custody on Tuesday by Mexican federal authorities for embezzling an estimated $200M U.S. dollars ($2K million pesos) from an account of the National Union of Education Workers (SNTE). The Mexican teachers union has about 1.5M members. Gordillo Morales took over the teachers syndicate union in 1989.
Gordillo Morales and three of her administrative aids allegedly transferred $200M dollars from the teachers union bank account to her personal accounts, according to the criminal complaint. Gordillo Morales, including her administrative aids, Nora Guadalupe Ugarte Ramírez, Isaías Gallardo Chávez and José Manuel Díaz Flores were charged the following federal offenses for embezzling and organized crime. Ramírez, Chávez and Flores allegedly between 2008 to 2012 handled the union accounts without legal authority and transferred union funds to three personal accounts, which they managed.
Ramírez between March 2009 to January 2012 made 22 transfers (payments) to pay off store bills from Neiman Marcus totaling $2,000,100 U.S. dollars ($27,000,267 pesos).
Also, Chávez made payments totaling $900K U.S. dollars ($12,000,255 pesos) to Gordillo Morales' personal Neiman Marcus credit card number 047970004041. The funds to pay for the Nieman Marcus credit card expenses came from the teachers union funds totaling about $3M U.S. dollars or $40M pesos.
Two bank accounts totaling $2M dollars were traced to Switzerland and Liechtenstein, which two companies were established with the teachers union funds. One of the businesses, Gordillo Morales deceased mother owned 99 percent of the stock.
Gordillo Morales used one of those companies to buy several luxury homes in Coronado island in San Diego, California.
The criminal complaint states, that between July 2011 to January 2012, Ramírez transferred four payments totaling $17,263.29 dollars to a clinic in California and other clinics the U.S. to pay for Gordillo Morales multiple plastic surgeries and reconstruction of her face that she had.
Payments of up to $3.5M dollars were made to a private jet company that provided a personal private jet used by Gordillo Morales when she traveled. 
Other payments were also made to an American Express credit card, which Gordillo Morales used for personal use.
The arrest of Gordillo Morales came a day after Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto signed into law a bill reforming the teachers union that under Gordillo Morales, teacher positions were bought or inherited. The SNTE is considered one of the strongest syndicated unions in Mexico, which teachers became poll workers during elections.

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