GUAM HOSPITAL OFFICIALS PLEAD GUILTY TO FRAUD

HAGATNA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Jan. 10) - Two former hospital administrators have pleaded guilty to federal charges and are expected to cooperate in ongoing public corruption investigations.

Dr. Davina Lujan, former Guam Memorial Hospital administrator, pleaded guilty Nov. 13 to conspiracy to distribute the narcotic Percocet. Former hospital Associate Administrator Therese Hart also pleaded guilty to money laundering on Sept. 4, according to a plea agreement.

Their cases were unsealed and made public yesterday in a press conference at the U.S. Attorney's office, which was attended by the elected attorney general, public auditor, chief of police and other law enforcement officials.

U.S. Attorney for Guam Frederick Black said the plea agreements with the two women, who are not in custody, will help his office with pending indictments.

"There will be further things coming from this, but I can't go into the specifics on those matters," Black said. "The trick is not to make it stop with the little guy. The trick is to go up the chain."

According to her plea agreement, in October 2000 Hart forged the signature of her father, Pedro Q. Hart, on a settlement agreement. The agreement was between then-Gov. Carl Gutierrez and Pedro Hart for the "wrongful death" of his other daughter, Janice Hart.

The hospital issued a $150,000 check, payable to Pedro Hart, but Therese Hart deposited the check into a Bank of Guam account that she controlled. She used the money for her personal benefit, including purchasing a Ford Expedition, the agreement said.

"Specific aspects of that case involve money that went to purchase a vehicle. That case was placed under seal while portions of that were still being investigated," Black said.

Lujan's case involved the illegal distribution of Percocet, a prescribed narcotic painkiller. On four incidents, Lujan wrote prescriptions without conducting a physical examination or a follow-up examination, according to court documents. On two occasions, Lujan wrote a prescription or prescriptions understanding that the Percocet would be picked up by somebody and delivered to a third party, documents state.

"It went to third parties," Black said. "As a doctor, you are entitled to prescribe medicine to people you are treating provided that you are doing the necessary examinations and prescribing it in good faith as a doctor, but you are not allowed to distribute to third parties for the purpose of getting it to some other individual."

The public, local and federal law enforcement officials, including the FBI and Drug Enforcement Agency, and Robert Soldier -- a former hospital employee -- played major roles in convicting the two women. Soldier provided information to local and federal officials that prompted an investigation.

Black said government lawyers also were involved in some cover- ups, but he would not name the lawyers or give details.

"Frankly, I was extremely disappointed at some of the lawyering that was done, so-called on behalf of the government. To me it was an out-and-out cover-up. It was an outrage," Black said.

Black said records typically are not sealed, but the cases against the former hospital administrators were sealed because of ongoing investigations.

"When we do seal them, we try to get them unsealed as quickly as possible," Black said. "There is a strong public policy interest in getting the information out and available. At the same time there is a dual law enforcement interest to try to further the investigation."

When asked if there was a reason the indictments were not made public until after Gov. Carl Gutierrez's administration ended, Black responded: "That is a good question. I can't answer it. Certainly we have various things we are looking at. I cannot go into the particulars of what we are investigating, and where it is going. But it was a good question."

The women will be sentenced in the U.S. District Court at a later date, which has not been determined.

"Chances are their sentencing date will be continued until the investigation into other parties proceeds further. That is typically what we do. In that way, everything that they do to cooperate will be made known to the court," Black said.

Hart's offense is punishable by a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment, a fine of not more than $500,000, supervised release of not more than three years, and restitution.

Lujan's offense is punishable by a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment, a fine of not more than $1 million, supervised release of at least three years, and restitution. Also, Lujan could lose her license, according to the Guam Medical Licensing Board, which will review her case.

"Our goal is to try to make every defendant a witness. No matter how high up it goes. It's up to that defendant how much time they want to do in prison. We hope both these individuals will tell us everything they know about public corruption."

Black said how much time is taken off their sentence depends partly on how much they assist investigators and prosecutors.

"Cooperation is golden. That is what every case agent, every prosecutor wants them to do. It is not our job to see how much prison time we can get for any one defendant," Black said.

"Our greater job is to make it stop, and that relates to public corruption or narcotics trafficking. This community will be a lot better off if we can stop the public corruption, stop the drug trafficking. Those are the central goals of this office."

Black said the U.S. Attorney's office will work on getting restitution paid to the local government.

"The plan will be to get as much restitution. The restitution has to go back to the government of Guam. That's our goal," Black said. "In all our federal cases, whenever possible, we want the restitution to go back to the government of Guam because it's the taxpayers' money."

Attorney General Douglas Moylan said his office may not be able to prosecute the two women.

"Guam has a double jeopardy law unique to our territory, which may prevent any further local prosecution," Moylan said. "I will say, however, that U.S. Attorney Black and I have already been in close contact on coordinating other cases in the government corruption area, as well as the drug areas, which would save the government money in terms of incarceration and prevent both the U.S. Attorney's office and the office of the attorney general from interfering with each other's cases."

Guam Election Commission members want senators to draft a law that orders a recall election for Education Policy Board member and convicted felon Jonathan Toves, despite a resolution by the 26th Guam Legislature last month that orders the recall election.

January 10, 2003

Pacific Daily News, www.guampdn.com/ 

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