U.S. Attorney Issues Statement Defending Aguilar Plea Deal

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Guam – U.S. Attorney Alicia Limtiaco issued a statement Friday defending the plea agreement reached with Guam Attorney Danilo Aguilar who pleaded guilty to 2 counts of money laundering involving close to $200-thousand dollars.

On the recommendation of the U.S. Attorney, District Court Judge Francis Tydingco-Gatewood sentenced Aguilar to 5 years probation and ordered him to pay restitution to the Bank of Guam. The Attorney  will serve no time in jail.

However, on August 26th,  Judge Tydingco-Gatewood sentenced May Quichocho Perez  to 2 years in prison after she pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft involving just $7,578.56.  Judge Tydingco-Gatewood also ordered Perez to pay restitution in that case, after Perez serves her time.

Perez too entered into a plea agreement admitting  she used a lost Bank of Hawaii VISA/ATM card  in 56 separate transactions to rack up $7,578.56 in charges on someone else’s account. Perez had prior convictions in Superior Court on multiple charges of forgery and theft.  Attorney Aguilar had no prior convictions.

Aguilar’s plea agreement does not explain what he did with the money, nor was that question asked or answered in court Friday. What did Aguilar do with the nearly $200-thousand dollars that the Bank of Guam lost as a result of Aguilar’s fraudulent actions?

In her statement, U.S. Attorney Limtiaco says: “After learning from the first bank that the check was fraudulent, Aguilar continued to withdraw funds from the second bank and used it to pay off his personal and business debts.”

And Limtiaco explained that “in cases where money is stolen, victims want to be made whole and want restitution and to recover what was taken from them. The Department of Justice is committed to making victims whole by ensuring they recover the money or property taken from the defendant. Internet scams are everywhere but it does not excuse the actions of defendants who, upon becoming aware of the scam, continue to participate in it because doing so can cost more than just money, it can result in criminal charges.”

The statement in its entirety is posted below.

ALICIA A. G. LIMTIACO, United States Attorney for the Districts of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, stated that earlier today, Danilo T. Aguilar pled guilty to two felony counts of Laundering of Monetary Instruments in the District Court of Guam. Aguilar, an attorney, responded to an email solicitation for a lawyer and had entered into a lawyer-client relationship with the soliciting party. The client mailed Aguilar a check which Aguilar then deposited into his business account at a Guam bank, with the understanding that the check would be used to pay Aguilar’s legal fees
or commission, and the remaining amount would be forwarded to a company in Korea. Aguilar then transferred most of the funds to a second bank and was making withdrawals from that account. It was subsequently learned that the email solicitation was part of an international internet fraud scheme from Hong Kong targeting attorneys, and that the check was a forgery. After learning from the first bank that the check was fraudulent, Aguilar continued to withdraw funds from the second bank and used it to pay off his personal and business debts.

Aguilar pled guilty to and was convicted of two felony counts and agreed to full cooperation in the investigation of the internet scam and full payment of restitution to the victim bank under strict terms and conditions. The District Court of Guam accepted the terms and conditions of the plea agreement and sentenced Aguilar to 60 months probation, full payment of restitution, and to the terms and conditions of the agreement. He faces jail time for any
violations of the terms and conditions as ordered by the Court.

United States Attorney Limtiaco stated “in cases where money is stolen, victims want to be made whole and want restitution and to recover what was taken from them. The Department of Justice is committed to making victims whole by ensuring they recover the money or property taken from the defendant. Internet scams are everywhere but it does not excuse the actions of defendants who, upon becoming aware of the scam, continue to participate in it because doing so can cost more than just money, it can result in criminal charges.”

The Internal Revenue Service led the investigation with the assistance of the U.S. Secret Service. Assistant United States Attorney Eric O’Malley, from the District of the Northern Mariana Islands where the case was originally charged, represented the government.