Superior Court Associate Judge Joseph N. Camacho granted yesterday the Office of the Attorney General’s request to file an amended information that reduces the original five criminal charges against Josepha Barcinas Manglona to two.
The amended information now charges the 53-year-old former Rota Department of Community and Cultural Affairs resident director with a count of theft by unlawful taking or disposition and a count of possession or removal of government property.
The original charges included one count of conspiracy to commit theft by unlawful taking or disposition, two counts of misconduct in public office, one count of theft by unlawful taking or disposition, and one count of possession or removal of government property.
Assistant attorney general Matthew C. Baisley said the government’s investigation of the case uncovered evidence that warrants dropping the charge of conspiracy to commit theft by unlawful taking or disposition and two counts of misconduct in public office.
Baisley moved to amend the charge of theft by unlawful taking or disposition to support a misdemeanor theft charge rather than a felony theft charge.
The prosecutor said the amendment will leave two active charges: one count of misdemeanor theft and one count of possession or removal of government property.
He said the government consulted Manglona’s counsel, Timothy Bellas, and that the defendant does not object to amending the information.
Moreover, Baisley said, the amended charge only excludes previous charges against Manglona, and it does not add to or significantly alter any of the charges.
Last month, Camacho rejected a proposed plea agreement that recommends a sentence of a mere $50 fine and no prison term for Manglona. Camacho found the proposed plea deal too lenient.
The trial is set for Oct. 13, 2015.
Members of the CNMI Public Corruption and White Collar Crimes Task Force arrested Manglona last April 16 on charges that stemmed from April 13, 2013,when, as then-director of the Aging Center on Rota, she took a pool table worth $1,000 from the center and gave it to Leo Mereb in exchange for concrete hollow blocks to build her kitchen.