FBI agents arrive in territory to probe 1602 Program
Remember the 1602 Program, the low-income housing grants administered by the Development Bank of American Samoa? A fact-finding mission into the program is why agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation are in the territory, arriving on Monday night’s flight, says Special Agent Tom Simon, a spokesman for the Bureau in Honolulu, Hawai’i.
Agent Simon told Samoa News the agents are here to ensure that alleged misuse of federal funds in American Samoa will be fully investigated.
“There are currently a few federal agents in American Samoa speaking to community members we view as potential witnesses in our cases, including our investigation of low-income housing grants commonly known as the 1602 Program. This is simply a fact-finding mission.”
Samoa News understands that the agents are on island looking into four 1602 projects under the names of a former Director, an ASPA official and two members of the current Legislature.
The former Director received from the 1602 program a total of $1,081,680, the ASPA official received $106,250 and a member of the Senate received $457,781 while the House member received $189,210.
Samoa News understands the agents are looking into possible misappropriation of the money.
Samoa News further understands that there are a total of eight FBI agents on island, some of whom who are involved in the 1602 investigation while others are here for unspecified purposes.
In addition, Samoa News understands the agents planned to serve the officials in question with subpoenas regarding documents needed for their investigation.
Simon told Samoa News that although the FBI office was closed in the territory, they have promised not to abandon the relationship.
“A year ago when we announced the closing of the FBI’s American Samoa office, we promised that the FBI would not be abandoning the island’s residents.”
“This week’s visit by Honolulu-based agents underscores our commitment to ensuring that alleged misuse of federal funds on American Samoa will be fully investigated.”
Simon further stated he can’t disclose the essentials of the visit.
“I can’t discuss the specifics of our ongoing investigation, but I do want to emphasize that we are simply looking for honest answers about what happened to the low income housing grant money.”
Simon is urging anyone who has information for the FBI to contact them.
“If anyone from American Samoa has information to provide the FBI, they can call 808-271-1143. We will protect the identity of anyone who comes forward with information.”
Samoa News understands the FBI agents will be on island for several weeks.