Scammer takes Univ. of Puerto Rico for $150,000

San Juan, Mar 26 (EFE).- The president of the University of Puerto Rico on Tuesday admitted that he was the victim of a scam and allowed the university to be defrauded out of $150,000 when he believed a con artist who passed himself off as a top government official.

Miguel Muñoz told WKAQ radio that the unknown man who contacted him by telephone pretended to be Puerto Rico's public affairs secretary, Jorge Colberg.

The swindler, according to Muñoz, told him that the UPR was going to receive $15 million from the government although for that to occur the institution first had to submit three checks for $50,000 each to cover administrative expenses.

"That call arrived at (my) office, saying that there were some funds originally allocated to the municipalities and that they were going to allocate $15 million to the UPR," Muñoz said.

He said that the UPR Finance Office issued the three checks and they were delivered, although payment was stopped on the last one when irregularities were discovered.

The Nuevo Dia daily on Tuesday on its Web site reported the fact that a conspiracy has been operating in Puerto Rico with several people passing themselves off as government officials in speaking with mayors and others, saying that the marks would receive millions of dollars in funding if they made seemingly relatively small pre-payments to cover so-called "administrative expenses."

So far, two people have been arrested in connection with the UPR case.