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Former U'una'i head Wagner to be sentenced in April

Presently out on bail, living in Missouri
fili@samoanews.com

Former acting executive director of the now defunct U’una’i Legal Service Corporation David Wagner has been ordered by a federal court to appear in April for sentencing, now that his co-conspirators have pled guilty and to be sentenced in late March.

Wagner, 47, pled guilty in March 2010 at the federal court in St. Louis, Missouri, to stealing $31,292 under one count of criminal information charging him with theft of federal grant funds which were provided by the federal Legal Service Corporation (LSC) and the U.S. Justice Department.

Sentencing for Wagner, who is out on bail and has been living in Missouri, has been postponed twice.

Prosecutors and Wagner's defense attorney filed a joint motion recently with the federal court in St. Louis, as ordered by the court in July 2001, on the status of Wagner's case for sentencing.

The motion states that the case against Wagner arose out of an investigation concerning alleged fraud and theft of federal funds at U’una’i and the case will be ready for sentencing after Mar. 27, 2012.

Wagner agreed to cooperate with the government in any and all matters concerning this investigation, as part of his plea agreement, which included him being a government witness in the U.S. Justice Department’s case against co-conspirators Julie and Andrea Matau, which was filed in December 2010 at the federal court in Oakland, Calif.

“In the months leading up to the trial date in [the Matau] case, the government anticipated that Mr. Wagner would be an important government witness at trial,” the motion says.

The trial date for the Matau case was originally set for November last year but was continued to Jan. 9, 2012. 

In December, however, Julie and Andrea Matau “entered guilty pleas by way of a package-deal plea disposition” in which Julie pled guilty to one count of wire fraud of approximately $150,000 and Andrea pled guilty to one misdemeanor count of theft of federal funds.”

The motion states that sentencing for the Matau mother and daughter is set for Mar. 27.

The motion asked for a sentencing date for Wagner and recently U.S. District Carol E. Jackson in St. Louis set sentencing for Apr. 2.

According to Wagner's 15-page plea agreement, the former U'una'i acting executive director, from 2005 and September 2007, agreed to pay $31,292 restitution - the amount of federal funds the government says Wagner claimed in salary advances he was not entitled to and never repaid.

At the time Wagner asked for and received the $31,292, the defendant “knew that he had no legal entitlement to demand or receive these funds, nor did he have any intention of repaying these funds” to U’una’i, the plea agreement states.

In the event restitution is not paid in full by the date of sentencing, Wagner consents to an entry of a personal money judgement handed down by the court in the amount equal to the sum of the remaining balance.

The plea agreement also recites that the maximum penalties for the crime Wagner pled guilty to, are 10 years imprisonment, a fine of $250,000 or a fine of twice the pecuniary gain or loss; and three years supervised release.

The court has discretion on imposing any sentence after considering federal sentencing guidelines and Policy Statements promulgated by the United States Sentencing Commission.

 



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