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UPDATE: Nauer sentenced in school bus parts case

fili@samoanews.com

The former supervisor for the school bus division of the local Department of Education has been sentenced in the federal court in Honolulu in connection with the bribery scheme involving spare parts for school buses.

Gustav Nauer, 47, pled guilty in January last year to one count of conspiracy to commit federal program bribery. Nauer, who is out on bail and living in Honolulu since last summer, had faced a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Nauer appeared yesterday morning before U.S. District Court Judge David Alan Ezra at the Honolulu federal court, where he was sentenced to 25 months imprisonment, according to the U.S. Justice Department.

Nauer was also ordered to pay $100,000 in restitution to the local Education Department and serve three years of supervised release following his prison term.

Samoa News wasn’t able to confirm the date Nauer is expected to start serving his prison term, and his defense attorney didn’t immediately reply to Samoa News e-mail questions seeking comments.

Under the plea agreement with federal prosecutors, Nauer admitted that he conspired with local DOE official Paul Solofa to purchase “phantom” school bus parts that would never be delivered, and actual school bus parts at inflated prices, all from a specific company, said prosecutors who didn’t identify the company by name. Previous court documents revealed the company as local vendor Pacific Products Inc.

In exchange for this lucrative business, the bus parts company agreed to pay back most or all of the fraudulently obtained money to Nauer and Solofa in cash bribes to influence and reward Nauer and Solofa. (Solofa was head of the local DOE business office at the time of the bribery scheme)

Specifically, Nauer admitted that from January 2003 until October 2006, he and Solofa received envelopes of cash totaling approximately $300,000, according to prosecutors and court documents.

Nauer had testified for the government during the January 2012 trial of Solofa, who was found guilty of one count each of witness tempering and obstruction of justice at the federal court in Washington D.C.

Solofa will be sentenced this Friday; and is currently being detained at the federal detention center in Honolulu. His attorney has stated in court documents the defendant will participate via teleconference from Honolulu during sentencing.

BACKGROUND

Samoa News has been reporting on the sentencing guidelines the feds are asking the court to follow in the Solofa case, noting the defendant “...acted entirely without remorse. He has refused to accept any responsibility for his criminal conduct, and the sentence imposed by the Court should convey to him the seriousness of his crimes.”(See Monday, June 04, 2012 Samoa News issue)

Solofa’s lawyer has asked the court to consider a sentence below the federal sentencing guidelines, citing among other things, that the defendant is facing a serious medical condition, a “Stage IV renal failure”, according to the defense statement filed last week Thursday. (See Friday, June 01, 2012 Samoa News issue)

 



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