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Court Report

reporters@samoanews.com

FORMER INSURANCE EMPLOYEES ENTER GUILTY PLEA

Two former employees of Florence Saulo and Associates Insurance Company, Priscilla Toelei’u and Herema Taupau entered guilty pleas as part of their plea agreement with the government to charges of misappropriating over $10,000 of company funds.

Toelei’u and Taupau initially faced charges of embezzlement, a class C felony which is punishable by up to seven years in jail, a fine of up to $5,000, a fine equal to twice the amount of gain from said crime up to $20,000 or both fine and imprisonment.

Instead under the plea agreement with the government, the defendants both pled guilty to conspiracy to commit embezzlement, a class D felony which is punishable with up to five years in jail a fine of up to $5,000 or both.

The defendants both admitted that between March 1, and June 30, 2011 they misappropriated the insurance company's funds.

Chief Justice Michael Kruse accepted the plea agreement and scheduled sentencing of the pair for next month and also ordered that a probation report be prepared in this matter.

According to the government’s case, President of Florence Saulo and Associates (FSA) Vui Florence Saulo asked for a criminal investigation of two former employees alleging they misappropriated close to $12,000.

One of the managers at the insurance company, Adonis Guarin told police while going through his master file for car insurance policies issued in 2010, he noticed there were duplicate policy numbers issued to different clients.

He also told police that after reviewing his files they found a total of 58 policies issued without records of payment in the company’s system.

During the investigation Tapau and Toelei’u told police they had been taking money from FSA since the beginning of 2010 and they received tips from between $500 and $700. The pair told police that they took over $4,000 in money, which clients had paid for their insurance; however company records indicate the amount was closer to $12,000.

PLEA NEGOTIATIONS IN MU MATUU’S CASE

Plea negotiations are ongoing in the government’s case against Mu Matu’u who is accused of involvement in burglarizing Leone High School classrooms where IMAC computers and laptops valued close to $5,000 were removed.

Matu’u is charged with burglary first degree, stealing and two charges of receiving stolen property. According to court filings, on January 11, 2012 laptops, iMAC computers, keyboards and mouses were removed from Leone High School.

During the police investigation, a juvenile found to be involved, told police that on January 10, 2012, he was with Matu’u and Carl Lafaele Tauili’ili when they burglarized the school and took off with the computers.

According to the government’s case, the juvenile said Tauili’ili drove the vehicle he was in with Matu’u. It’s alleged Matu’u acted as the watch-out, while the juvenile entered the classroom and removed the computers and accessories.

Matu’u denied any involvement when questioned by police and attempts to locate Tauili’ili were unsuccessful.

According to court filings, a week later another burglary occurred at Leone High School. This time, Matu’u admitted he was involved in the first burglary that occurred on January 10, 2012. The defendant told police, he was the watch-out while the juvenile broke into the class room and came out with the laptops. The defendant admitted to police that he sold one of the laptops and received $60 and he was waiting for remaining payment of $120.



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