As the trial for couple accused of money laundering and theft of government property began, the testimonies of Bank of Guam employees revealed that they were not aware of complete ATM procedures prior to the current case.
In June, Clifton Soalablai, who was President’s Chief Security Guard along with Soalablai’s wife Margie Ngirmidol, were charged with money laundering and theft of a government property as Soalablai allegedly deposited his pay roll check of $524.71 with a false amount of $52,471 in the BOG ATM located at BOG Koror branch.
Images of step by step ATM procedure while depositing a check were used as evidences in the court which showed that an individual can edit the amount detected by the machine and enter an incorrect amount instead. After the amount is entered, the BOG ATM gives an option to confirm or cancel the transaction.
The branch manager at BOG David Sablan in his testimony said that ATM machine located outside the BOG office was set up two years ago.
Sablan added that he knew the machine detected the check amount automatically when it is deposited but he was unaware that the machine was also capable of giving an amount editing option to the individual.
Sablan discovered this option after Soalablai allegedly entered an incorrect amount resulting in transfer of money from government treasury into Soalablai’s own personal account.
Sablan’s testimony disclosed that there has been no update in the system after Soalablai incident.
Island Times approached Sablan asking of the systems are going to be upgraded in the future and he chose to not comment on on-going case.
Catherine Tanishiro who currently works at BOG as operational manager was a witness in the case as well. Tanishiro told the court that during the time of the incident earlier this year, she worked at the bank as Customer Service Associate.
Tanishiro also said she was not trained to check the checks once they are deposited in the machine and that verifying checks by the end of the day was not included in her job.
The case against the couple was filed in the month of June but it is during this time when OSP discovered there has been another false deposit and withdrawal in March and May by wife Margie Ngirmidol.
Tanishiro confirmed this in the court as she said that there were two incidents using the same deposit procedure by Ngirmidol.
In the court, it was also reveled that BOG only found out that there has been a transaction entering false amount after they were approached by an employee working with Division of Finance asking for a reversal.
The Bank of Guam then reversed the transaction resulting national treasury gaining access to the funds again. (By Eshan Kalyanikar)