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FORMER POST OFFICE EMPLOYEE CASE IN HIGH COURT

A retired Post Office employee facing criminal charges in connection with the alleged theft of money and postage stamps to the tune of more than $2,000 back in 2009 was arraigned in the High Court yesterday morning.

Nikolao Fa’asala is charged with embezzlement, stealing and responsibility for the conduct of another to commit forgery.

The defendant, who’s out on bond of $5,000 had his preliminary examination in the District Court, where Police Lt Pierre Clemens, who was the lead investigator, was the government’s key witness.

District Court Judge John Ward found that there was probable cause for this matter to be bound over to the High Court.

According to the government’s case the investigation was conducted by the Federal government and then referred to the Attorney General’s office for prosecution.

For the charge of responsibility for the conduct of another to commit forgery, court filings state that around May 2009, the late Smitty McMoore, who was Postmaster at the time, falsified an audit report to conceal the acts of theft for the accused. It’s alleged McMoore asked the defendant to pay back the money, but he didn’t comply.

The falsified audit report was signed by the defendant and submitted to the USPS Honolulu District Office; however, the US Postal Service District Manager in Honolulu Hawaii was concerned and assigned another postmaster to conduct visits and audits with the local post office, according to court filings.

For the charges of embezzlement and stealing, the Federal audit discovered a shortage of $2,977.06, in the defendant’s drawer, say court files, which also say the defendant explained that he handed out stamps to his friends and was paid at a later time, which he then pocketed some of the money and placed the remainder back in his drawer.

On September 11, 2009 an agent with the Office of the Inspector General initiated the investigation and a letter of demand was handed to the defendant on the same day to pay his shortage of $2,977.06. The following month the defendant paid in full his shortage to the post office.

Pre-trial conference for the defendant has been scheduled on May 3, 2012.

DRUG DEFENDANT ENTERS GUILTY PLEA

Chief Justice Michael Kruse has accepted a plea agreement between the government and drug defendant Matafua Mataipule, a former Pago Plaza security guard who sold illegal drugs from his work place. Mataipule was initially facing charges of unlawful distribution of a controlled substance (marijuana) and unlawful possession of a controlled substance (marijuana) with intent to distribute.

However, Matafua Mataipule has pled guilty to unlawful possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, while the government moved to dismissed the remaining charge against him. According to the government’s case the Vice and Narcotics officers received a tip from a Confidential Informant (CI) that the defendant had given him a marijuana joint as a sample.

It’s alleged on the same day police met with the CI and retrieved the marijuana joint. Mataipule admitted to selling joints earlier in the year to an informant who was working for police. Court documents say the next day the CI met with police and was briefed about making a controlled buy. The CI was given $10.00 and bought two marijuana joints from the defendant.

It’s alleged that police executed a search warrant on the defendant and found five hand-rolled marijuana joints inside the pocket of his shirt, in addition to ten marijuana joints inside the defendant’s pouch. It’s alleged police confiscated 19 marijuana joints that were tested positive for marijuana. Sentencing for the defendant has been scheduled on May 3, 2012.

LAGA TUI

A pretrial conference for a man accused of striking another man with a machete has been scheduled for April 9, 2012. Laga Tui, who’s in his 20’s is facing first-degree assault after he allegedly struck another man with a machete.

The incident is alleged to have occurred December 3, last year in Mapusaga Fou. According to the government’s case, the defendant was intoxicated and became upset when the complaining witness told him to get off his property. The victim underwent emergency surgery as a result of the alleged attack.



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