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Woman accused of attempted fraudulent use of credit card

reporters@samoanews.com

A woman is behind bars on allegations that she stole a wallet, used the cash in it and then attempted to use the credit card belonging to the victim. Naomi Mavaega was arrested on Tuesday by the Criminal Investigation Division detectives and made her initial appearance in the District Court on Wednesday.

Mavaega of Ili’ili is charged with stealing and fraudulent use of a credit device. The stealing charge is a class C felony which carries a jail term of up to seven years in jail, a fine or up to $5,000, a fine equal to twice the amount of gain up to $20,000 or both fine and jail time, while the fraud charge is a class D felony punishable up to five years in jail, fine of up to $5,000, a fine equal to the amount of gain up to $20,000, or both fine and imprisonment.

According to the government’s case, on August 26, 2011 the victim was at the hospital Emergency Room for several hours, where she spoke to a lady next to her (the defendant) while the victim’s purse was between them. It’s alleged that when the defendant’s phone rang, she intentionally stood up, grabbed her own purse, grabbed the victim’s wallet and walked away towards the bus stop.

The government claims the victim did not find out that her wallet was missing until her son approached her about a phone call from ASCO motors saying a couple was trying to use his mother’s credit card

Court filings say the incident came to light when the defendant tried to use the victim’s credit card to purchase car tires at ASCO motors; however, the employee there knew the victim, and contacted her about the attempted use of the credit card by the defendant.

It’s alleged the defendant was accompanied by a man when she was at ASCO motors.

The government claims that when ASCO employees asked the defendant who owned the credit card, she said it belonged to her aunty.

However ASCO employees told the defendant they had already contacted the owner of the credit card, and the card had been reported stolen.

According to the government’s case the police approached the man who was with the defendant at ASCO motors.

The man told police that Mavaega owed him $450 and she told him that she would purchase tires for him, to pay off the money she owed.

The man said the defendant told him the credit card belonged to her mother.

According to court filings, the man told police that when ASCO employees told the defendant the card was stolen, the man was frustrated and left.

The government claims the defendant admitted to police she grabbed the victim’s wallet when she left the hospital, used the $40 cash, and also went to ASCO motors with a man she owed money to buy tires in order to compensate for the money she owed to him.

It’s alleged the defendant threw the victim’s wallet in a taro plantation where it was found when police went to search for the wallet. The government claims the wallet was returned to the victim.

Bail for Mavaega was initially set at $10,000, however during her initial appearance it was dropped to $5,000. The defendant will be arraigned in the High Court today, after she waived her rights to a preliminary examination in the District Court.

Mavaega is represented by Assistant Public Defender Leslie Cardin while prosecuting for the government is Assistant Attorney General Kimberly Hyde.



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