Former FSM employee charged with crimes for allegedly withholding password for Passport system
- Category: News
- Published: Monday, 23 January 2017 09:29
- Written by Bill Jaynes
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By Bill Jaynes
The Kaselehlie Press
January 3, 2016
Palikir, FSM—A former employee of the FSM Division of Immigration and Customs is scheduled to be arraigned on March 14 on National Government charges relating to the alleged withholding of the administrator password for the FSM’s Machine Readable Passport system. That system is required in order to print and issue passports which the FSM cannot currently do.
The criminal action information on the charges filed on December 21 by the Department of Justice allege that he was the only holder of the password and that he now refuses to release it after his employment was terminated. Affidavits accompanying the information on the criminal action say that at the time that all of the employees were locked out of the system, there were approximately 100 passport applications waiting to be processed.
On December 27, the Department of Immigration and Customs issued a notice to FSM citizens that it no longer had the capability to issue passports until further notice.
David Wolphagen was in charge of Information Technology at the Department of Immigration and Customs. Affidavits provided by employees responsible for issuing passports claimed that Wolphagen was the only person who had the administrative password for the system and that when passwords needed to be reset he was the only one who could do it. At least one of the affidavits said that he sometimes reset passwords from off-site but that he never shared the Administrator password with anyone at Immigration.
Six affidavits from witnesses and the investigating officer accompanied the criminal action information filing. One of the witnesses said that Wolphagen had previously said that if he no longer worked at the Division, the system would go down one day and no one would be able to fix it but him.
The investigating officer’s affidavit said that he accompanied Chief Ricky Falcam to speak with Wolphagen at his residence. He testifies that Wolphagen refused to provide the administrator password and insisted that they leave his house and not return.
Another of the witnesses testified that Wolphagen did return all tangible property to the Division and an inventory was completed for those items.
The FSM Department of Justice has charged him with three criminal counts. Count one is “Obstructing Administration of Law and Other Government Function”. The penalty for that crime is not more than one year in prison. Count two is “Retaliation for Past Official Action”. The penalty for that crime is imprisonment for not more than 10 years. Count three is “Tampering with Public Records or Information”. The potential penalty for that crime is imprisonment for not more than one year.
Wolphagen has not yet entered a plea and is presumed to be innocent. His arraignment is scheduled for March 14 at the FSM Supreme Court. It is at that time that he will enter a plea of “guilty” or “not guilty”. If he pleads “not guilty” a trial will be scheduled at that point.
Again, he is presumed to be innocent unless proven otherwise