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Court Report

reporters@samoanews.com

The government has filed three new cases in the District Court, one case against Uputaua Tuiuli accusing her of forgery and stealing and two criminal cases against Ioane Meleisea also known as Ioane Faimata in connection with burglaries.

The defendants were in District Court yesterday to determine if they were to hold a preliminary examination hearing. However the defendants waived their rights to that hearing and will be arraigned in the High Court today.

FIRST CASE AGAINST IOANE FAIMATA

The government’s first case against Faimata is in connection with a burglary that allegedly occurred on May 21, 2010 at the Pelene Store in Pava’ia’i, wherein the defendant is charged with first degree burglary and stealing.

The burglary count is a class B felony punishable by five to 15 years in jail while the stealing count is a class C felony which carries a jail term of up seven years in jail, a fine of up to $5,000, a fine equal to twice the amount of gain from the commission of said crime up to a maximum of $20,000, or both fine and imprisonment.

According to court filings, on May 21, 2012 police were informed about a burglary which allegedly occurred five days earlier. It’s alleged the store’s video and still photos showed the defendant in the store during the early morning hours of May 16, 2012, when the store was closed.

According to the government’s case the owner of the store informed police that when he opened the store, many items were not in their usual place and the camera system was unplugged. The store owner told police that the duct vent hole to the rear of the store had been vandalized.

While the video footage was reviewed, an employee told the store owner that he’s familiar with the defendant who was seen inside the store. Police then questioned the defendant, who admitted that he was the one who broke into the Pelene Store, say court filings.

The defendant told police that he and kids from his village planned to break into the store after it was closed, however he was the only in the group that could fit into the hole they created at the back of the store. He told police that he had taken several items from the store, such as chips, beer, footwear and numerous rolls of quarters valued at $600.

The store owner reported to police that cash taken from the store was $1,050.

SECOND CASE AGAINST IOANE FAIMATA

The second case against Faimata also charges him with first degree burglary and stealing. This case is in connection with a burglary at the Bell Mart Store in Faleniu.

The burglary count is a class B felony punishable by five to 15 years in jail while the stealing count is a class C felony which carries a jail term of up seven years in jail, a fine of up to $5,000, a fine equal to twice the amount of gain from the commission of said crime up to a maximum of $20,000 or both fine and imprisonment.

According to the government’s case, the owner of Bell Mart Store reported to police that his store was burglarized and the culprit(s) gained entrance by prying open a firmly nailed plywood at the back side of the store. Several items and money were removed from the store.

When police interviewed the defendant about the first alleged burglary at the Pelene store the defendant told police that he was also aware of the burglary at the Bell Mart Store.

The defendant told police that he and another man planned to burglarize the Bell Mart Store on May 8, 2012 when they were in a drinking session.

Court filings say the defendant alleged the other suspect had told him that he was aware of an open place at the back of the store where an air conditioner was to be mounted.

The defendant admitted that he pulled both sides of the plywood to gain entrance while the other suspect waited outside the store. The defendant said he took items, including $240 and coins in the amount of $900 then they divided the money amongst themselves. 

UPUTAUA TUIULI CHARGED WITH FORGERY AND STEALING

Uputaua Tuiuli is accused of forging two checks of her previous employer, Samoa Sports. The defendant is charged with two counts of forgery and one count of stealing.

All three charges are class C felonies punishable by up to seven years in jail, a fine of up to $5,000, a fine equal to twice the amount of said commission of said crime, up to a maximum of $20,000 or both fine and imprisonment.

The government claims that on Dec. 1, 2010 the owner of Samoa Sports filed a complaint against Tuiuli for stealing checks from her company and forging the signature of one of the owners to cash the checks.

The store owner told police the defendant was hired to work at the store as a cleaning lady. According to court filings, the shop keeper told the store owner that there were items missing from the store, such as clothes on the rack. A box of 22 caliber Remington brass plated shells (bullets) was also discovered missing.

With regard to the checks, the government claims one of the checks reported stolen was cashed at a store near the residence of the defendant for the amount of $280.90.

The second check for $379.80 was cashed at Bank of Hawaii.

The authorizing signature is that of the father of the complaining witness, however the complaining witness told police that her father was off-island at the time the checks were cashed.

Police questioned the defendant, who said that her father told her it would be in her best interest to just go ahead and pay off the checks in question.

Tuiuli told police she was unaware of the checks and does not know why her name would be on the checks.

The defendant further told police that she did not commit the crime but is willing to pay for the checks if it meant clearing her name, say court filings.

Court filings also say that when the first check was cashed she had just started working at  Samoa Sports and after the second check was cashed, she did not work for the whole week.



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