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Last updateFri, 22 Sep 2017 12am

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    Thursday, September 21, 2017-6:10:36A.M.

     

     

     

     

     

No jail time for Ambrosio Ogumoro

SUPERIOR Court Judge Kenneth Govendo on Tuesday did not sentence former Department of Public Safety Deputy Commissioner Ambrosio Ogumoro to prison even though he was found guilty of theft by deception and misconduct in public office.

The judge sentenced Ogumoro to six years imprisonment but all suspended, and placed him on a six- year probation concurrent with his other previous conviction.

Ogumoro was also ordered to pay a fine of $5,000, a restitution of $2,500 and $125 in court fees.

Ambrosio Ogumoro, right, smiles as he  and his defense counsel Mark Hanson leave the courthouse after the sentencing on Tuesday afternoon.  Photo by Bryan Manabat

In addition, he is required to perform 1,000 hours of community service and write a public apology letter.

On May 2, 2017, a jury found Ogumoro guilty of theft by deception for selling a DPS car for $50, which had been repaired for $2,500, an amount paid by DPS. Ruling from the bench on the same day, Judge Govendo found Ogumoro guilty of misconduct in public office.

During the sentencing on Tuesday, the judge received several letters from community members who asked for leniency in sentencing Ogumoro. These included John Del Rosario, Gary Sword, Pedro Deleon Guerrero, Lino Olopai, Isidro Cabrera, John Tagabuel, Juan Diego Blanco, Ben Sablan and Felix Nogis.

Their main message, according to the judge, is that putting Ogumoro in jail will serve no purpose nor help the community and will just cost the government more money.

In an separate case, Ogumoro was convicted for shielding then-Attorney General Edward Buckingham from being served with penal summons in 2012. Ogumoro served a year in prison for his conviction in the case.

Following the sentencing on Tuesday, Assistant Attorney General Heather Barcinas said: “The role of the Office of the Attorney General is to enforce the law and prosecute those who violate the law. We are disappointed that no jail time was imposed on the defendant.”

Barcinas said Ogumoro was holding a high-ranking position when he committed the offense by defrauding the government of public funds for personal gain.

She said the commonwealth will continue to prosecute all reported public corruption cases and hold public officials accountable for their actions.

Barcinas thanked the Office of the Public Auditor and the Department of Public Safety for their assistance and collaboration with the AG’s office in securing a conviction against the defendant.

“The attorney general is proud of the office in its effort in prosecuting public corruption cases and will continue to support these efforts,” Barcinas said.

She earlier told the judge that   a “strong sentence will send a strong message to the community that this court will punish public officials who are law breakers.”

But Judge Govendo disagreed, adding that putting Ogumoro in jail for five years as recommended by the AG’s office would cost the government an additional $30,000 a year and $150,000 in five years.

“I don’t think there would be anything gained by Ogumoro’s spending more time in jail,” the judge said, adding that the issue with the DPS vehicle involved a breach of public trust.

Mark Hanson, Ogumoro’s lawyer, said his client “regrets putting everybody in this position.”

Hanson said if Ogumoro could go back in time, he would do things differently.

Ogumoro was originally charged with theft by deception, misconduct in public office, conspiracy to commit theft by deception, receiving and removal of government property and theft by unlawful taking or disposition.

The prosecution said he brought a DPS computer to his True North Bar and had it repaired using DPS funds.

The prosecution also said Ogumoro brought a DPW-owned Toyota Tercel to a shop that repaired it for $2,500. The repair cost was paid by DPS. He then sold the car to the brother of his common-law wife, Herman Manglona, for $50.

On April 25, 2017, the government dismissed the charges against Manglona.

On May 2, 2017, the jury found Ogumoro guilty of theft by deception for selling a DPS car, but not guilty of theft by unlawful taking or disposition involving the DPS computer.