Benny K. Pangelinan, a former Coastal Resources Management official who was sentenced to three years in prison in 2007 for his involvement in an Internet scam, was charged again yesterday in federal court for allegedly committing the same offense.
The U.S. government charged Pangelinan with one count of wire fraud.
According to the information filed by assistant U.S. attorney Garth R. Backe in the U.S. District Court for the NMI, Pangelinan transmitted or caused to be transmitted a total of $3,770 through wire transfers to Malaysia and Australia in 2011.
Backe said that Pangelinan participated in the scheme from Oct. 14, 2010, to Oct. 31, 2011, obtaining money and property by means of fraudulent pretenses and promises.
Pangelinan allegedly approached friends and family members, including three victims, and told them that he was going to receive large sums of money from off-island sources.
Pangelinan reportedly told the victims that he needed their help in getting the money to Saipan by paying for fees, taxes, or similar expenses associated with the electronic transfer of funds.
He allegedly continually promised the victims that the money was coming soon and that he would pay them a large amount compared to what they gave him.
Pangelinan allegedly gave the victims handwritten promissory notes and claimed that he had personally met the person or persons sending the money.
Pangelinan allegedly persuaded the victims and others to transmit $1,030 to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Feb. 27, 2011; $510 to Kuala, Lumpur, Malaysia on Feb. 29, 2011; $1,000 to Seddon, Victoria, Australia on March 8, 2011; $930 to Seddon, Victoria, Australia on March 10, 2011; and $300 to Seddon, Victoria, Australia, on Oct. 30, 2011.
In January 2007, a federal jury found Pangelinan guilty of five wire fraud charges for defrauding potential investors and for his involvement in an Internet scam. He was sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to pay $129,250 in restitution to five victims.
In September 2011, the U.S. Probation Office pushed to revoke Pangelinan’s probation after finding out that the defendant borrowed $21,450 from a couple and received over $11,000 from a family member, with promises to both that he will double their money.
In January 2012, U.S. District Court for the NMI designated judge David O. Carter issued an order placing Pangelinan in the custody of the U.S. Attorney General for hospitalization.
Carter had found Pangelinan in violation of two conditions of his probation, but at the same time the judge determined that there is cause to believe that the defendant “is presently suffering from a mental disease or defect.”