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Pase plea agreement: no further prosecution for Mine Pase or co-conspirators

fili@samoanews.com

Three individuals linked to the federal case against Mine S.Pase will not be prosecuted because the former executive director of the American Samoa Special Services Commission (ASSSC) has entered into a plea agreement wherein she has pled guilty to conspiracy to steal more than $325,000 in AmeriCorps grant funds provided for ASSSC.

This information - revealed in the 14-page plea agreement between the U.S.Justice Department's Criminal Division Public Integrity Section and Pase - was signed Oct.13 and filed last week at the federal court in Washington D.C. where the defendant entered the guilty plea.

By Pase's acceptance of the plea agreement and entering a guilty plea, the federal government "agrees that it will not further prosecute the defendant" in any other crimes in this case and that the government will not further prosecute her for any conduct of the defendant now known to the Public Integrity Section and the law enforcement agents working on the present investigation, the plea agreement says.

In addition, the government "agrees that it will not prosecute Samalaulu Favaaia, Katerina Pase or Aleluia Pase for any role they may have had in any crimes" arising from this case and it will not prosecute them for any of their conduct now known to the Public Integrity Section and the law enforcement agents working on the present investigation," it further states.

Samoa News understands that Katerina and Aleluia are daughters of the defendant but Favaaia's involvement or role in this case could not be clearly identified at this point.

In the federal information complaint, it only cites that between August 2009 and October 2010, "coconspirator PERSON A" served as the ASSSC Fiscal Officer, who was also a board member of Log on Samoa, one of the four programs funded by ASSSC. conspired with Pase to steal federal grants. (Person A is not identified by name in court documents)

Prosecutors also say that Pase and her co-conspirators arranged for Pase and her family members to receive $28,009 as payment for office space used by Log On Samoa and HIS Ministries, and it was office space severely damaged and in need of repairs.

The government further claims that one of Pase's daughters (not identified by name in court documents) received $19,665 in payments under a bogus "lease agreement" for a vehicle, when in fact Pase owned and controlled the vehicle which was purportedly being leased by ASSSC.

Justice Department's spokesperson Laura Sweeney had declined to comment on whether the federal government has an ongoing investigation into this case and whether another person - not in the plea agreement - will be charged at a later time.

Conspiracy to commit theft of federal grant funds carries a maximum prison sentence of five years and a $250,000 fine.

Pase served as executive director of ASSSC from March 2001 to October 2010. She has been released on her own recognizance, and is allowed to return to American Samoa to await sentencing on Mar. 23 next year.



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