12 Aug 2008

CNMI Lt Governor Villagomez indicted on fraud charges

1:49 pm on 12 August 2008

The Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas' second highest ranking politician has been indicted on charges of wire fraud, conspiracy and theft of federal funds.

The charges against Lieutenant Governor Timothy Villagomez have come after a five-month investigation by federal authorities.

The indictment charges him with conspiring to defraud the CNMI government out of thousands of dollars through business deals involving needless chemical purchases for CUC.

Our correspondent in Saipan, Mark Rabago, says three people will appear in court in October

"From 1998 to 2000, he was the CUC executive director, and in 2006, when he became lieutenant governor, the governor made him in charge of CUC as part of his duties, [the FBI alleges] he made some questionable purchases for his brother in law, 400 percent mark up, that's the allegation, and they profited from it, together with his sister who is married to the commerce secretary."

Our correspondent in Saipan, Mark Rabago.