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Fraud trial begins for Guam government employee

August 20, 2014 - 12:05am

HAGATNA, Guam — Several public works employees in Guam claimed inflated and false overtime as part of a scheme to collect extra pay, federal prosecutors said.

The Pacific Daily News reported Tuesday that three territorial government employees entered plea agreements in the case, admitting that they knew about the abuses.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Marivic David said at the opening of a trial for Ariel Evarola that he was also part of the scheme to defraud federal and local governments.

Evarola was coerced into the scheme by his superiors, his defense lawyer said.

Prosecutors allege the abuse happened in 2006 after certain public works employees were allowed to collect overtime for specific projects. The department’s former director testified Tuesday that the eligibility was restricted and the overtime paid out of federal reimbursements.

David says employees were told they could collect overtime even for unapproved projects.

Evarola’s lawyer, Curtis Van de veld, said there’s no evidence that Evarola willfully participated in the scheme and that he was following instructions from his supervisor.

The supervisor, Liberty Perez, pleaded guilty last week to knowing about the scheme without revealing it.

“(Evarola) was required under penalty of insubordination to follow her instructions,” Van de veld said.

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