American Samoa Department of Education officials are behind bars for trying to cover up a school bus scam.
American Samoa School Bus Scam06/28/2012
Mollie Halpern: American Samoa Department of Education officials are behind bars for trying to cover up a school bus scam.
I’m Mollie Halpern of the FBI and this is Gotcha—the Bureau’s closed case of the week.
Paul Solofa and Gustav Nauer hired a mechanic to create false invoices for school bus parts and services. They conspired to get the invoices paid and then split the money. Special Agent Tom Simon says the mechanic was convinced to work with law enforcement.
Tom Simon: At that point, he began wearing a wire against the two subjects.
Halpern: Solofa and Nauer defrauded the local public school system out of more than $700,000.
Simon: This money originated with the U.S. taxpayers. While it may not be much in terms of an FBI fraud it’s an astronomical amount of money to them.
Halpern: This was a joint investigation between the FBI and the U.S. Departments of Interior and Education Offices of the Inspector General.
Simon: We couldn’t have done it without them. These partnerships are the cornerstone of our successes in governmental fraud.
Halpern: Solofa was sentenced to 35 months in prison for witness tampering and obstruction of justice. His partner, Nauer, was sentenced to 25 months.