Former Guam Housing Authority Lawyer Pleads Not Guilty To Fraud Charges

Smith, frieng face charges of money laundering, wire fraud, related crimes

By Jasmine Stole

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, March 29, 2017) – A former Guam Housing and Urban Renewal Authority lawyer and his friend on Wednesday pleaded not guilty in federal court to charges of money laundering, wire fraud and other crimes.

Attorney Mark S. Smith and Glenn D. Wong answered to the charges before District Court of Guam Magistrate Judge Joaquin Manibusan Jr.

Smith was the legal counsel for GHURA from 2011 through 2013. The indictment alleges that, during that time, he also was unlawfully receiving Section 8 housing payments on rental properties he owned or controlled.

Manibusan scheduled trial for June 6, but that date may change. Prosecuting attorney Marivic David said there’s more than 90,000 pages of discovery, or information, about the case. That information will be turned over to the defense attorneys. Manibusan asked defense attorneys to file a motion if they need more time to prepare for trial.

Smith and Wong allegedly misrepresented ownership and control of the rental properties to both GHURA and the federal U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, court documents state.

GHURA issued landlord housing payments on Section 8 rental properties to Wong for rental properties owned or controlled by Smith, the indictment states. GHURA paid more than $98,000 to Smith and another $281,122 to Wong, according to the indictment. Wong also allegedly distributed funds to Smith upon receiving rental payments in his account, the indictment states.

Smith and Wong were released after the arraignment. They are prohibited from contacting each other while on pre-trial release, according to court documents, and prohibited from leaving the island.

The federally funded Section 8 program, also known as Housing Choice Voucher program, provides rent subsidies to eligible low-income families, elderly or disabled individuals. Regulations forbid employees or officers of GHURA from receiving housing payments while they are an officer or employee, and for one year after that, according to the HUD housing contract.

Pacific Daily News
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