FORMER GUAM OFFICIAL INDICTED FOR FRAUD

HAGATNA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Feb. 6) - A former high-ranking government official was indicted in the Superior Court of Guam yesterday after he allegedly went on a shopping spree with a government-issued credit card.

Former Guam Mass Transit Authority assistant General Manager Antonio "Tony" Diaz allegedly racked up $10,000 worth of charges for a computer, airline tickets and clothing, among many other items. Diaz has since repaid the credit card charges, according to Prosecutor Bruce A. Bradley.

Although it has been years since the Attorney General's office has prosecuted a white-collar crime, Attorney General Douglas Moylan said the indictment is the first of many to be expected against government corruption.

"We are not treating this case any differently than any other case that you have out there," Moylan said at a press conference. "This is a serious crime."

On July 19, 2001, GMTA General Manager Tony Martinez and Diaz resigned after an audit showed the authority's credit card was used to purchase thousands of dollars in meals at local restaurants and was used during an off-island trip, according to Pacific Daily News files.

Moylan said an investigation into Martinez, the former GMTA general manager, is ongoing.

"There are several investigations and I cannot release information as to those investigations yet," Moylan said. "But we will emphasize that the office will probably look more favorably upon people that come forward and report their involvement in any wrongdoing or involvement that they are aware of."

Diaz turned himself in at court late yesterday afternoon, appearing before Presiding Judge Alberto Lamorena. Diaz was released on a $50,000 personal recognizance bond, Moylan said. Diaz had to forfeit his passport and was ordered not to have any contact with any current or former GMTA personnel, among other release conditions.

"We expect to be bringing forward many cases, especially with these type of incidents of credit (card) abuse," Chief Prosecutor Tricia Ada said. "We are currently investigating them and we will continue to do so and bring them before the grand jury, as we did here."

Diaz was represented in court yesterday by an attorney from the Cunliffe & Cook Law Office. Sen. Randall Cunliffe, D-Tamuning, is a partner at that firm and has oversight of the judiciary, including the attorney general's office. Diaz's arraignment hearing is scheduled for Feb. 18.

A grand jury handed down a 34-page, six-charge, multiple-count indictment against Diaz, after listening to evidence presented yesterday.

Moylan said the indictment arises from charges Diaz made on his government of Guam credit card from July 2000 through October 2000.

"While there are six charges, there were 24 separate uses of the card, a total amount of approximately $10,000 and that amount and those charges ... was paid back by Mr. Diaz," Bradley said.

Moylan encourages anyone with information about government corruption to report it to his office.

"Prosecuting government corruption remains a team effort, requiring your help to report past and current government corruption," Moylan said.

Moylan acknowledged the assistance of GMTA's former accountant, who originally revealed the alleged wrongdoing at the agency, and Public Auditor Doris Brooks, who conducted an audit and helped secure the indictment.

The last time the local attorney general's office convicted a government employee of a white-collar crime was in 1999, files state. Norma Jean Taitano, a former Department of Education interscholastics program coordinator, was convicted of stealing more than $140,000 from the department. She was one of several women indicted on charges alleging they stole about $300,000 from 1993 to 1996, files state.

Moylan said although the number of attorneys at his office is dwindling, they will continue to actively pursue government corruption cases.

Former Chief Prosecutor Dianne Corbett has said politics has nothing to do with determining if a case is prosecuted and that a lack of prosecutions has everything to do with resources.

When asked whether a lack of resources or politics prevented former Attorney General Robert Kono and Corbett from prosecuting the Diaz case, which has been under investigation for some time now, Moylan responded:

"I'm going to let the record speak for itself on that. We've been here for about three weeks to a month now. Ms. Ada and Mr. Bradley have put together a solid case and the grand jury has issued an indictment."

February 6, 2003

Pacific Daily News: www.guampdn.com 

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