WHO IS JORGE PUELLO?

I’ve been curious about Jorge Puello since his name appeared about 10 days ago as the legal adviser for the New Lifers. Puello made a big splat on CNN when he complained about the severe conditions under which his clients were jailed: “No air conditioning! No Electricity! Very disturbing!”

According to news reports Puello was hired by Laura Silby’s church, Central Valley Baptist, after either the church or Laura Silsby and her gang rejected the attorney (or attorneys) recommended by American Consular Services. Puello, in turn, hired Haitian attorney Edwin Coq to represent the detainees, even though Coq speaks Creole and no English. What to make of that nonsense?

Last week, according to whose story you believe, Puello fired Coq, claiming that the Haitian had demanded a $60,000 fee and attempted to bribe the prisoners back to the US. Coq denied the accusation, and said he quit because the families back in Idaho never sent him the $60,000 he needed to take the case. Sources inside of Haiti who know Coq claim that he is an “honest young lawyer” and refused to believe Puello’s claim. Coq has complained to the press that Puello has ruined his reputation.

Over the weekend I spent quite a bit of time looking for information on Jorge Puello. I could find no listing for him as a Dominican attorney. What I did find was Puello Consulting/Abogados Consultores, operated by Jorge Puello and his brother Alejandro, located at Avenida Duarte 359, in Santo Domingo.

The company’s webpage, describes the firm:

Puello Consulting is a Firm of Attorneys, Notaries & Business Consultants that renders full legal services specialized in commercial, corporate and business fields providing the counseling with the “legal insight with business instinct” required for individuals and companies decision makers in the Dominican Republic or in other countries with Law Firms correspondents.

Established in 2005, has earned a solid reputation in successfully offering personalized professional services of the highest quality with a winning attitude and determination for customer satisfaction which has distinguished us in the legal and business marketplace.

This intro is followed by a long laundry list of legal services: including acquisitions, mergers and alliances, banking and finance, consumer protection and antitrust, corporate services, collections, family law, immigration and naturalization, intellectual property, trade, investment, taxes, public and private contracting, real estate, and trust.

Not a word about criminal law–domestic or international. And no word anywhere of how CVBC hooked up with Puello, and why it would hire what appears to be a civil law outsourcer with no criminal law section to take on a high profile international incident. It only got curiouser and curiouser with the hiring of Coq and the dust-up that followed.

Bernard Saint-Vil, the presiding judge in the New Life case, is curious, too. According to the February 11, 2010 New York Times, he plans to open an inquiry into Puello’s activities after learning that police in El Salvador are investigating whether Puello heads a trafficking ring involving Central American and Caribbean women and girls.

Picking up from the NYT:

The head of the Salvadoran border police, Commissioner Jorge Callejas, said in a telephone interview that he was investigating accusations that a man with a Dominican passport that identified him as Jorge Anibal Torres Puello led a human trafficking ring that recruited Dominican women and under-age Nicaraguan girls by offering them jobs and then putting them to work as prostitutes in El Salvador.

Mr. Puello said he did not even have a passport. When Mr. Callejas was shown a photograph taken in Haiti of Mr. Puello, Mr. Callejas said he thought it showed the man he was seeking. He said he would try to arrest Mr. Puello on suspicion of luring women into prostitution and taking explicit photographs of them that were then posted on Internet sites. “It’s him, the same beard and face,” Mr. Callejas said in an interview on Thursday. “It has to be him.”

Judge Saint-Vil also said he thought that the photo of the trafficking suspect in a Salvadoran police file appeared to be the same man he had met in court. He said he intended to begin his own investigation into whether a trafficking suspect had been working with the Americans detained in Haiti.

“I was skeptical of him because he arrived with four bodyguards, and I have never seen that from a lawyer,” the judge said in an interview. “I plan to get to the bottom of this right away.”

The judge said he would request assistance from the Department of Homeland Security to look into Mr. Puello’s background. A spokesman for the department said American officials were playing a supporting role in the investigation surrounding the Americans, providing “investigative support as requested.”

That Puello, has no passport is an odd circumstance for a man who claims to have a large law practice with international commercial clients. In fact, there is some doubt if Puello is actually a lawyer. The NYT, verifying my own research, says that records in the College of Lawyers in the DR has no one with his name listed.

Again from the article:

Mr. Puello said he had a law license and was part of a 45-member law firm. But his office in Santo Domingo turned out to be a humble place, which could not possibly fit 45 lawyers. Mr. Puello’s brother Alejandro said that the firm had another office in the central business district, but he declined to provide an address. (NOTE: the article does not say if the “humble office” was located at Duarte or another location)

Mr. Puello said in the interview that he had been representing the Americans free of charge because he was a religious man who commiserated with their situation. “I’m president of the Sephardic Jewish community in the Dominican Republic,” he said. “I help people in this kind of situation. We’re not going to charge these people a dime.”

But other lawyers for the detainees said that the families had wired Mr. Puello $12,000 to pay for the Americans’ transportation out of Haiti if they were released, and that they had been told by Mr. Puello in a conference call late Tuesday that he needed an additional $36,000. Mr. Puello said that he had not participated in a conference call.

Even if Puello is found to be the wrong man in the Salvadoran investigation, there are still questions:

  • Is Jorge Puello a lawyer?
  • Why did Central Valley Baptist Church reject consular recommendations and hire what appears to be a outsourcer with seeingly no criminal expertise to defend its members?
  • Why did Puello hire a Haitian lawyer who couldn’t communicate in any meaningful way with his clients and then accuse the lawyer of attempting to bribe the court,
  • Did Puello and Laura Silsby have a legal or personal pre-earthquake relationship, which led CVBC to hire him as legal adviser; possibly a relationship regarding the leasing of the Puerto Plata Diocese-owned Education and Training Center in Cabarete that was to be converted into the temporary New Life Children’s Refuge?
  • Was Puello involved in the attempt to move the “orphans” across the border?
  • Why is Puello lying about being paid by the New Lifers? (And I believe he is lying)
  • Who is paying Puello and who is funding the defense?

And, if Puello is the right man:

  • Did he plan to traffick the children?

Or…

  • is this a simple matter of scavengers scavenging scavengers?
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23 Replies to “WHO IS JORGE PUELLO?”

  1. Well, at this point, it’s all alleged, and we have to be careful with this. If he is not, there are still many questions, as I pointed out, to other aspects of the case. I’m particularly curious about his attorney status and a pre-quake relationship with Silsby. I do hope, though, that whatever the outcome that this hold up their release, though I won’t hold my breath.

    If Puello is not a lawyer, then why didn’t these rubes in Idaho check him out first. Do they drink stupid water out there?

    There are now some very connected lawyers involved, which I have not had time to write about.

    The news never stops, and it’s impossible to keep up.

  2. Yes, people living in their own private Idaho have been known to drink stupid water. These people hail from the area where schoolchildren were taught to shout “Assassinate Obama!” after all.

    I want to congratulate you on your research. Puello raised red flags with me, too. I was taken aback by his tendency to announce what the Court would do next, as if he were the judge, not a supplicant. And, his treatment of Edwin Coq looked like a sneaky way to get out of paying Coq any legal fees, while damaging his reputation.

    I will be in touch with you via email.

  3. Some pretty serious allegations there and I’m glad the judge is looking into them. Some of the things that were in the NYT article that give me pause were:

    He was born in NYS but claims not to have a passport.

    He claims to be the “president” of the local Sephardic community and allegedly some Sephardic documents were found in a home in San Salvador which police believe was used to house trafficked women.

    Too many red flags, too much “circumstantial” evidence. But very interesting to watch. I’m waiting for the truth.

  4. The whole things reeks. He has to have a passport. If he was born in Yonkers he’s a US citizen living in DR–not to mention what I already brought up. I’m working on the Sephardic angle now. DR has a tiny Jewish population with very few Sephardim. Interestingly the name Puello is not listed as a Crypto-Jewish name.

  5. It gets stranger and stranger or dirier and dirtier.Good on you for your persistence, hope it all comes out soon and the kids get back with their families.

  6. Thanks so much! I’ll check our your page, and I’ll be contacting your privately. I’d like to discuss your meet-up with Silsby.

    There is so much happening at once, and it gets more and more murier and confusing I’m trying to get something new out tonight.

  7. Looking up the website info

    http://www.whois.net/whois/puello-consulting.com

    Note the registrar is MelbourneIT. So we have a possible link to Australia.

    The phone number for that registration is shared with a real estate company

    http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.evisos.com.do/alquiler-inmuebles/avisos-varios/alquilamos-su-vivienda-ya&ei=Irp2S-DvM43c7APD7ZWeCg&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CAsQ7gEwAQ&prev=/search%3Fq%3D8093025155%26hl%3Den%26safe%3Doff%26rls%3Dcom.microsoft:en-US

    This page gives another email address puello.realestate@gmail.com

    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&safe=off&rls=com.microsoft%3Aen-US&q=%22puello.realestate@gmail.com%22&btnG=Search&aq=f&aqi=&oq=

    One of these yields his Cellphone
    829-733-5155

    Googling that gives us yet another number 829-572-7770 , which is also on his (now taken down)website, along with 829-572-7800

    cached version of their real estate site (with relative)

    http://74.125.95.132/search?q=cache:V88b0q8mvmMJ:alquilo-o-vendo.com/+%22Alejandro+puello%22&cd=42&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=firefox-a

    Note the Besiyata Dishmaya at the top of the page.( בס”ד )

    Whois info on Real estate site

    http://www.whois.net/whois/alquilo-o-vendo.com

    Note registrant is MelbourneIT again

    Puello-consulting homepage cached

    http://74.125.153.132/search?q=cache:7t4PE7JFqmQJ:puello-consulting.com/home-english+829-572-7800&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk

    Puello consulting about us page cache

    http://74.125.153.132/search?q=cache:wCY_MXkAoqYJ:www.puello-consulting.com/about_us+829-572-7800&cd=2&hl=en&ct=clnk

    Services page cached

    http://74.125.153.132/search?q=cache:BLDZpW7gyBQJ:puello-consulting.com/services+http://puello-consulting.com/services&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk

    Jorge also sells a cheap phone calling solution

    http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.mundoanuncio.com/anuncio/llamadas_gratis_a_mas_de_paises_1181978262.html&ei=kbl2S-_ML5Hm7AO377WlCA&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CBQQ7gEwAg&prev=/search%3Fq%3D829-572-7770%26hl%3Den%26safe%3Doff%26rls%3Dcom.microsoft:en-US

    Cached contact form of realestate site (down)

    http://74.125.153.132/search?q=cache:xieIiMPwmfQJ:alquilo-o-vendo.com/contacto+829-733-5155&cd=5&hl=en&ct=clnk

    yields email address jorge@alquilo-o-vendo.com from form source code.

    Denial of association from Alejandro Puello

    http://www.miamiherald.com/news/americas/haiti/story/1477970.html

    yet from earlier blog “Mr. Puello’s brother Alejandro said that the firm had another office in the central business district, but he declined to provide an address”

    Thats me for now.

    If Jorges lawyering and realestate and cheap phonecalls business has left a trail of people he owes money to, I know what this is. Seen it before.. “By way of deception…”

  8. If he really is wanted for human traffiking in Central America – he would have to be a real idiot to take on such a high profile case as its lawyer – the san salvador traffiker had over 25 different false identities – “Jorge Puello” is only one of the those – if you were a criminal wouldn’t you adopt the identity of a respected lawyer who happens to have some physical resemblance to you?
    Let the fingerprints talk…..

  9. That’s what you think but there is incontrovertible evidence at this point that it is him. His parents even say it is. I’m writing about it now.

  10. Very well researched BD. We were tracking a lot of what you were doing.
    2 Things to add
    In the Idaho Statesman article where Puello’s Mum says she recognises him http://ow.ly/17eGn
    Mum also states that Puello’s wife is in jail in Salvador.

    Possibly this woman? http://ow.ly/179k5

    We know that Salvador arrested a Govt Official in the same operation
    called Pablo Nasser.

    So what do we know about Pablo?

    Well he worked in the Salvador Immigration Dept

    And wait for it

    Attended meetings with EU/US representatives on Trafficking http://ow.ly/17cBZ

    And even better meetings with US/EU on terrorism http://ow.ly/179Q2

    (Sorry you need to search on the name to find this in the docs)

    Now this is not reflecting at all on the 10 Baptists. Until proven otherwise we belive they mostly made huge naive misjudgements.

    There are questions about the motives of the leader who seemed to be hugely in debt.

    And of course the dentist, Rob Chenvert, who was her partner & who owns a Real Estate business in the DR (more on him later today)

    But it shows the tangled web of Trafficking from Dominican Republic which the US Embassy In DR talks a lot about here http://ow.ly/17eKA

    “The Government of the Dominican Republic does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Despite these overall significant efforts, the government did not show evidence of progress in prosecuting and punishing trafficking offenders including complicit officials; therefore, the Dominican Republic is placed on Tier 2 Watch List. The Dominican government increased its efforts to educate the public about the dangers of trafficking, improved its assistance to victims, announced a national plan to combat trafficking, and took some disciplinary action against lower-level officials suspected of complicity in trafficking activity.

    And then when we find an official in Salvador is also involved in #Trafficking it makes you wonder about the horrible web

    Take care keep it up

    Safe World Team

  11. Puello raised red flags with me, as someone else said, very good sleuthing. I am curious about the Sephardic jewish angle, and if he is really Jewish at all. I have been waiting for some comment from Canadian source on what he was arrested for there. Or what jewish organization in Canada gave him a letter of recommendation.

  12. He”s not jewish at all, has anyone heard the word sociopath. he has lived in several countries and yes Canada, USA, Dom. Republic, El Salvador, and yes using different passports, he´s obviously not a lawyer….sociopath people..they´ll get cought in the end.

  13. Iam very happy that BEFORE FRIDAY, LAURA SILSBY, WILL BE FREE and to all of you INOCENT, THANKS TO THE PERSON YOU ARE ALL TALKING ABOUT. GOD IS POWER. And he did not care what all of you are saying. At the end Jorge Puello IS A HERO.

    While all of you were eating pop corn in the confort of your home and all talking bad about him, HE WAS RISKING HIS LIFE, To take this poor people MEDICINE, FOOD, CLOTHING, HOPE and what is most inportant. EXCULPATORY EVIDENCE.

    Thanks to him they are FREE and INOCENT.

    CAN YOU GO AGAINST A JUDGE DECISION HUUUH.}

    IN YOUR FACE. BUUUUUUUUUHHHH

  14. some told me today about Jorge Torres, and I confirm his the same person who left Canada in 2005 committing froud to many people, he was living en Granby, Quebec, Canada everything was told by the news it is true he was involved in smugling alliens to USA and also drug traffiking. To my he made a fraud for $48.000 dollars and few people more, he is not a jewish practicioner. I’m sorry but my english it is not good

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