Former investigator to pay funds mishandled - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Former investigator to pay funds mishandled

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by Nick Delgado

Guam - The Professional Engineers, Architects and Land Surveyors Board is now waiting for a reimbursement of $5,250 that apparently was mishandled by a former board investigator. Superior Court documents state that Mark Arceo mishandled the funds collected from applicants and registrants of the PEALS Board.

Executive board administrator Amor Pakingan discovered the cash discrepancy in late 2009, and confronted the investigator on the issue. In an effort to resolve the matter internally, Arceo signed several agreements that he would pay the funds back. PEALS Board officials say Arceo was a good worker, which is why the board proceeded for an entire year solely on good faith to allow Arceo to give the money back.

However, in late 2010 Arceo, who since transferred to the Department of Public Works as a construction inspector for the Division of Highways, had yet to return any of the cash. The board took him to court where Judge Benjamin Sison, Jr. ordered in January of this year that he return the entire amount along with interest at a rate of six percent per annum until paid in full.

But DPW's Joaquin Blaz claims they were not made aware of Arceo's case prior to his employment at the agency, nor were they informed about the judgment until after the Attorney General's Office approached them about obtaining a wage assignment. Blaz says DPW is disappointed that the PEALS Board was not upfront about Arceo's actions before the transfer was made, adding had they known they wouldn't have accepted him until the issue was resolved.

While DPW states that the PEALS Board should have immediately notified the authorities about the missing funds, Blaz says that they have no jurisdiction to take any disciplinary action against Arceo. He adds in the event a garnishment order for Arceo is obtained, DPW will fully comply with all terms of the order.

In the meantime, PEALS Board officials will work with DPW to resolve what they are calling "an administrative issue".

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