Former Lt. Governor’s Sentence Increased To 108 Months
Saipan, MP – United States Attorney ALICIA A.G. LIMTIACO, U.S. Attorney for the Districts of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands (NMI), announced that on June 12, 2013, following a successful appeal by the United States, Timothy P. Villagomez, former Lieutenant Governor of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, was re-sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 108 months on corruption charges. Mr. Villagomez had initially been sentenced to 87 months in prison.
The bribery and fraud charges related to the purchase by the Commonwealth Utilities Corporation of a chemical -- at a 400% mark-up -- from companies owned by Mr. Villagomez’s sister and brother-in- law, co-defendants James and Joaquina Santos. The scheme resulted in a loss of $346,125 and extended over ten years, beginning when Mr. Villagomez was executive director of the utility, and lasting through
2007, when he was Lieutenant Governor of the CNMI, exercising de facto control over the utility. The sentence is the result of a guilty verdict returned on April 24, 2009, after a 19-day jury trial. Mr. Villagomez received an original sentence of 87 months. He unsuccessfully appealed his conviction. The United States cross-appealed, arguing that his sentencing range should be enhanced because the offense involved corruption by an elected public official or other public official in a high-level decision-making position. The Court of Appeals agreed and remanded the case to the district court for re- sentencing. On remand the district court applied the enhancement and increased Mr. Villagomez’s sentence to 108 months. Upon completion of his term of imprisonment, the defendant will be subject to a three-year term of supervised release.
Mr. Villagomez, along with his co-defendants, is jointly and severally liable for restitution in the amount of $346,125, which is to be paid to the Commonwealth Utilities Corporation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric O’Malley and First Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeff Strand and investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The CNMI Office of the Public Auditor assisted in the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Ross Naughton handled the re-sentencing.