MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP) – A Washington state man convicted of money laundering in Nicaragua has argued at a hearing appealing his 22-year sentence that police and prosecutors created lies to link him to organized crime.
The lawyer for 35-year-old Jason Puracal of Tacoma says three appellate judges are looking at evidence such as business records that show Puracal has no ties to the companies listed in the formal accusation.
The panel is expected to make a decision in five to 10 days, attorney Fabbrith Gomez told The Associated Press after Monday’s hearing.
Puracal’s family says he was wrongfully convicted two years ago and thrown into one of the most dangerous Central American prisons. Now family members are going to new lengths to try to get him freed.
“He was the kind of brother who would be very protective – but would also challenge you,” Jason’s sister, Janis Puracal, said earlier this month.
Puracal is a University of Washington graduate who served in the Peace Corps in Nicaragua in 2002. He was convicted in 2011 of laundering money through his Re/Max International real estate franchise in San Juan del Sur on Nicaragua’s west coast.