Islands, he now owns five exclusive homes in the San Juan metropolitan area -- including one in the tony San Patricio area that authorities say he planned to "sell" to Fajardo for $750,000 in laundered federal funds.
In 1995, he also bought a $300,000 home in Orlando, where several cars appear registered over the years -- including two white Chevy Corvette sport coupes and a purple Chevy Corvette convertible. The 2002 Porsche he drives around now was registered last Halloween.
His alleged participation in the scheme that has tainted NPP politicians surprised many on the island, particularly considering his family's strong connection with the rival Popular Democratic Party.
In decades past, his mother, Bienvenida Class Claudio, was a longtime PDP leader in Catano, where the family bought some homes in the center of town and eventually ended up owning an off-track-betting business. She also was a secretary for former PDP Gov. Rafael Hernandez Colon, who held office for 12 years in the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s.
Hector Luis Acevedo, an elections-law professor and PDP stalwart, vaguely remembers Rivera Class during the 1980 campaign when he volunteered to set up the computers at PDP headquarters.
"Afterwards, I didn't see him again," said Acevedo, who became the party's elections commissioner and occupied several top positions until he ran for governor in 1996. "He wasn't the head of a company or anything. He could have participated in some event years later, but I don't remember him being around."
A relative who refused to be interviewed for this story said everyone in the family was surprised to hear the news. That includes Class Claudio, who appears in government records as president of ER Pro International -- a company, investigators say, that her son used to funnel $27,500 to pay some NPP bills.
The scheme, detailed in a 35-page federal indictment, features a complex web of shell companies, fake invoices, extortion "quotas," bogus contracts and messengers carrying cash and checks -- all designed to hide, launder and steal government money that paid for NPP expenses or went into ringleaders' pockets.
Fajardo, who has pleaded guilty, kept more than half of the $4.3 million stolen and stashed much of it in a safe in his agency offices, which he carted off to his exclusive Tintillo Hills neighborhood home one evening after the NPP lost the election in November 2000. Investigators describe cash flowing freely with some NPP operatives or just greedy officials using Fajardo's stash as an automated teller for the party or for themselves.
And for years, they kept the cash coming in. Fajardo and his deputy, Jose Omar Cruz