By Troy Torres
(Tumon, Guam) Janela Carrera's timesheets for the three pay periods, when she was on two separate vacations, indicate that she was fully paid for a total of 112 hours of work as though she was behind her desk at her office at the Ricardo J. Bordallo Governor's Complex.
But she wasn't. For 72 working hours between June 26 and July 9, 2019, she was in Europe. And for 40 hours between September 16 and September 20, she was in Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
Kandit inspected the three time sheets in the custody of the Department of Administration payroll office. Chief Payroll Officer Gilbert Galang responded to Kandit's demand to inspect public documents under the authority of the Freedom of Information Act late this afternoon. Mr. Galang produced the three timesheets, which indicate that for every day Ms. Carrera was actually off island, she was paid for regular hours worked.
Two of the time sheets were certified by Adelup timekeeper Antonio Benavente, signed by Ms. Carrera, and approved by the governor's chief of staff, Anthony Babauta. One time sheet was signed by Mr. Benavente and Ms. Carrera, and approved by a person whose name is not indicated in the document.
In response to a Freedom of Information Act demand for information from Ms. Carrera for all leave applications she made since becoming the governor's director of communications in January, Ms. Carrera sent to Kandit three leave forms. One leave form was for work-related travel between September 11 and September 13 for a National Governors Association training for nationwide directors of communications in Phoenix Arizona. Ms. Carrera extended the travel from that opportunity to take personal leave immediately following that training conference.
This is why she submitted a separate leave form for that same trip. That leave form indicated she would use 40 hours of compensatory time that would fund her leave of absence from work and guarantee her a paycheck as though she was working. Kandit previously reported how it is not legal for Ms. Carrera to accrue compensatory time, a fact that should have been caught by DOA payroll officials before the certification of her pay - if that leave form had in fact been submitted to DOA.
Of note in the travel authorization document Kandit obtained is the fact that her travel was not authorized until after she left Guam.
Prior to that trip was a leave form for Mr. Carrera to use 72 hours of compensatory time for a June-July European vacation she took. Mr. Babauta approved both time sheets, where she applies for and takes this type of leave that she is not allowed to take.
The two leave forms for Ms. Carrera's two vacations, however, were not attached to Ms. Carrera's corresponding time sheets for the three pay periods spanning those vacations. The forms would have been required had Ms. Carrera's timesheet reflected that she was using leave hours to pay for her paycheck in lieu of actually working. The time sheet would have been marked with the number of leave hours taken each day under the category of leave to be applied.
In each day noted in the time sheets, when she was on vacation, eight hours are marked under the category, "Regular hours," No leave hours were marked, and no category exists in Office of the Governor time sheets for compensatory time - because that type of leave does not apply to employees there. Kandit Wednesday morning filed a criminal complaint with the Office of Public Accountability and the Office of the Attorney General regarding these violations of Guam law.
When Kandit asked Mr. Galang, the chief payroll officer, "Gil, do you realize that Janela Carrera was on vacation during these pay periods that reflect she worked regular hours?" his response was, "Not according to the documents submitted by the Governor's Office to our office."
Ms. Carrera signed time sheets that led to the processing of her paychecks during those three pay periods that claim she was at work and working, when she was not and was on vacations. She defrauded the Treasury of Guam, falsified public documents, made a false claim in order to personally benefit herself, and committed official misconduct.
Mr. Benavente, the timekeeper, certified to the payroll office that Ms. Carrera worked those hours on Guam, even knowing that she was not on island during those periods.
Mr. Babauta and the other signatory approved the timesheets, falsifying public documents, making a false claim, defrauding the taxpayers, and committing official misconduct.
These are criminal felonies and misdemeanors.
As for the leave applications Kandit received from the Governor's Office for Ms. Carrera, those documents were not transmitted to DOA, and it is now questionable whether those documents were falsified and forged only as a direct response to the FOIA demand for Ms. Carrera's leave forms to cover up the illegal activity.
What exactly are these public officials on the hook for, criminally and civilly? Take your pick of a host of crimes:
Misdemeanors: Forgery, Tampering with Public Records, Misapplication of Entrusted Funds, Official Misconduct, Unsworn Falsification and Obstructing Government Functions.
3rd degree felonies for which they could be charged include Forgery, Unlawful Influence and Tampering of Public Records.
They may also be jointly civilly and personally liable for the illegal expenditure under 5 GCA §7102 which requires that you exercise due “care, skill, prudence and diligence…solely in the interest of the people of…Guam” or be personal liable for taxpayer actions to recover the expenditures.
Other Related Criminal or Civil Liability
4 GCA Public Officers & Employees
§3105 Officers of governing bodies may be liable for losses due to an exercise of due care.
§3106 Officers of local government bodies may be held personally liable for the negligent acts or omissions of employees under him if the officer failed to supervise such employee with due care.
Chapter 46: Forgery, Fraudulent Practices & Telephone Records
Falsified writings, alterations, deceptions. Misdemeanor to 3rd degree felony.
§46.25 Tampering With Records
§46.70 Misapplication of Entrusted Funds
Disposing of funds as a fiduciary; knows unlawful; misdemeanor
§49.40 Unlawful Influence
3rd degree felony to exchanges any benefit as consideration for improperly influencing or attempting to influence a public servant.
§49.90 Official Misconduct
Misdemeanor if with intent to benefit self or another, commits an unauthorized exercise of official function or fails to exercise official duty imposed or implied by position.
§52.30 Unsworn Falsifications
Misdemeanor if intending to mislead a public servants performing official functions with anyone’s false or misleading statement or representation.
§55.10 Tampering with Public Records
3rd degree felony if intent to defraud or injure; Misdemeanor otherwise if knowingly falsifying, misrepresenting, or hiding records
§55.40 Obstructing Government Functions
Misdemeanor to intentionally obstruct any government duties or functions.
22 GCA 9104(J)(3) Penalties
(3) Penalties. Any person, including an employee, employer, medical case manager, health care provider, vocational rehabilitation provider, or workers’ compensation insurance carrier who, knowingly and with intent to defraud, makes a false statement or representation for the purpose of obtaining, affecting, or denying any benefit or payment under the provisions of this Chapter, either for her or himself or for any other person, shall forfeit all benefits or payments obtained as a result of the false statement or representation and all or a portion of any right to compensation under the provisions of this Chapter as determined by Director and:
(i) for fraud involving Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000) or more, be fined not more than One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000) or imprisoned not more than three (3) years, or both; and
(ii) for fraud involving less than Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000), be fined not more than Ten Thousand Dollars
o ($10,000) or imprisoned not more than two (2) years, or both.
Adelup refuses to answer any of Kandit's questions.