Two Nukuoro employees accused of stealing nearly $18,000 from the people of the municipality

By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press

August 16, 2018

Pohnpei—Pohnpei has filed criminal charges against two Nukuoro employees related to theft of nearly $18,000. The charges came after a Pohnpei Office of the Public Auditor review of the municipality revealed financial irregularities that were then handed over to the Compliance Investigation Division, which after investigation referred the matter to the Pohnpei Office of the Attorney General.

The charges were filed at the Pohnpei State Supreme Court on the evening of July 27. Itaia R. Fred and Blumina Leopold were charged with the crimes. Their arraignment is scheduled on August 17. Both are presumed innocent unless otherwise proved in court. At press time they had not yet entered their pleas.

Both of the defendants are charged with grand larceny, theft by failure to make required disposition of funds received, cheating, misconduct in public office, and compounding a crime.

According to the filed charges, Fred is the chief representative of the Mayor for the municipal government of Nukuoro. Blumina Leopold is the Assistant Treasurer for the Nukuoro government.

The charges against Itaia, who has already been convicted of felony charges on a plea bargain for a financial crime involving the Office of Fisheries and Aquaculture where he currently works, is accused of stealing over $14,000 from the people of Nukuoro over a three year period.

Editor’s note: Just before print deadline, Fred and Leopold pled “not guilty” to all charges. The trial will resume on September 14.