MORE INDICTMENTS IN GUAM UTILITY CASE

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By Theresa Merto

HAGATNA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Feb. 24) - Former Gov. Carl Gutierrez and former Guam Power Authority board Chairman Joseph L. Cruz allegedly tampered with public records in an effort to alter the power agency's finances in connection with the installment of thousands of private streetlights.

Two other former high-ranking government officials, former GPA General Manager Thelma Ann Perez and former Department of Administration Director Clifford Guzman, also were indicted in connection with this case, according to a superseding indictment released yesterday.

Gutierrez, Perez and Guzman have all been previously indicted in the Superior Court of Guam, but the superseding indictment has modified the earlier charges, Attorney General Douglas Moylan said.

"We consolidated the actions into one case, which will save judicial time and resources," Moylan said.

On or about Sept. 2, 2001, Gutierrez and Cruz allegedly authorized an expenditure form, "specifically an installment payment agreement for past due bills for electrical services" involving village, primary and secondary streetlights, the superseding indictment said.

"This note was completed Sept. 2, 2001, just prior to completion of an audit by Ernst & Young, which (they) were doing for the Guam Power Authority," Prosecutor Lewis Littlepage said.

"It appeared to restructure the financing and this was primarily done only for the audit reports that was being prepared by Ernst & Young so that GPA will look better, so that GPA can qualify for a bond issue."

Gutierrez and Cruz allegedly signed the notes, Littlepage said.

"The money for these notes was never approved by the Legislature. So for that reason, they prepared a document which gave the auditor a reason to believe that there was financing available for these past-due funds for Guam Power Authority," Littlepage said.

According to the indictment, all four defendants are accused of the following:

· Allegedly agreeing with one or more other person that one of them would engage in conduct which constituted the crime of tampering with public records;

· The defendants allegedly did so with the intent of engaging in, promoting or assisting in the conduct which constitutes the crime of tampering with public records; and

· One of them allegedly performed an overt act pursuant to the agreement, specifically prepared or signed an installment payment agreement for past-due bills for electrical services involving streetlights, "knowing it to be false, and with the intent that it be taken as a genuine part of information."

Gutierrez, Perez and Guzman were previously indicted in connection with authorizing the use of government of Guam funds for private streetlights.

Perez, or T. Ann Perez, allegedly directed then-Department of Public Works acting Director Jesse Garcia to sign a promissory note that would make Public Works responsible for the debt associated with running 2,435 private streetlights, according to court documents. Gutierrez and Guzman allegedly signed the promissory note.

Moylan has said in court that Garcia, who has not been indicted, is a witness in the case.

Perez and Guzman have pleaded innocent to the charges in the earlier indictment. A hearing for Gutierrez on a motion to dismiss the charges in the initial indictment was scheduled for today, but that hearing has been continued because of yesterday's superseding indictment.

The four defendants have been summoned to appear on March 10 before Judge Richard Benson, Moylan said. Moylan said the four defendants will now have to answer to the charges raised in the superseding indictment.

Attorneys for Perez, Gutierrez and Guzman have filed motions to dismiss in connection with their prior indictments.

"Although we don't believe the motions really had any merit to them, we came in, we did a superseding indictment, which prosecutors normally do," Moylan said.

Defense attorneys and their clients could not be reached for comment as of press time last night.

February 24, 2004

Pacific Daily News: www.guampdn.com

 

 

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