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By Tammy Anderson

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, April 13) – For the next two years, Monessa C. Leon Guerrero will have to report to the Guam Department of Corrections every other month and spend a weekend in jail.

The unusual sentence, along with orders to serve community service and be placed on five years probation, was handed down yesterday against the former Guam Public Utilities Commission administrator. Leon Guerrero had pleaded guilty last year to stealing more than US$46,000 from the commission in 2002.

[PIR editor’s note: According to PIR news files, Ms. Leon Guerrero was indicted on April 1, 2003 on three counts of theft of property as a second-degree felony and three counts of official misconduct as a misdemeanor for writing unauthorized checks (See story).]

Superior Court of Guam Judge Michael Bordallo had sentenced Leon Guerrero to six months in jail but suspended all but 24 days of that sentence. The judge said he separated her prison time so she could continue working as a secretary at a local law firm.

Bordallo said he decided that some jail time was appropriate in this case because of the amount Leon Guerrero stole. Leon Guerrero pleaded guilty to charges of theft as a second-degree felony and official misconduct. She was indicted in 2003 for processing Public Utilities Commission checks that were not supposed to be written out to her.

Prosecutor Clyde Lemons also pressed the judge to put Leon Guerrero behind bars, saying a sentence that included jail time would send a message that government corruption will not be tolerated.

Leon Guerrero's attorney Patrick Civille told the court that Leon Guerrero has paid a large price for her crime, including losing her government job and being barred from working for the government of Guam again.

Civille added that Leon Guerrero's marriage fell apart because of the stress from the case. She also had to sell her inheritance.

"I think that she has paid a very substantial price. I don't think she will sin again," Civille said, adding she has been judged by the community for her crime.

He said Leon Guerrero kept only 10 percent of the money and gave the rest to family and friends.

Standing before the judge, Leon Guerrero tearfully apologized to her family, employers and all of Guam.

"I don't know what led me do such a thing," she said. "I told myself I would pay it back. One day I woke up and I was in a deep hole and things just fell apart from there."

Bordallo ordered her to report to the corrections facility on May 26.

April 14, 2006

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