FBI seizes phones of CNMI mayor and girlfriend

6:15 am on 10 January 2019

It has been revealed in the Northern Marianas that the FBI has seized the phones of the Rota mayor and his girlfriend.

Close up of a man using mobile smart phone

Photo: 123rf

According to court documents obtained by the Saipan Tribune, in November the cellular phones of Efraim and Evelyn Atalig and two others were taken in order to obtain their conversations during a trip to Guam last June.

A senior official from the Department of Fire and Emergency and Medical Services and another from the Department of Finance also had their phones seized.

The group are part of seven local government officials who have been charged with corruption.

The mayor's charges are for allegedly arranging government-funded trips to California, Palau, Guam, and Saipan under fraudulent pretences.

The superseding indictment charged the mayor and Ms Atalig with conspiracy, wire fraud, theft from program receiving federal funds, and two counts of false statements.

All parties have pleaded not guilty.