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Court Report

reporters@samoanews.com

LEGA OA ADMITS TO EMBEZZLING FROM KOOLINE REFRIGERATION

Lega Oa, a former employee of Kooline refrigeration accused of embezzling 58 checks — close to $40,000 — will be sentenced on February 18, 2012. This was after she entered into a plea agreement with the government yesterday before Associate Justice Lyle L Richmond and Associate Judges Mamea Sala Jr and Muasau Tasina To’ofili.

Oa, who is eight months pregnant, was initially charged with embezzlement and forgery, however in a plea deal yesterday morning she pled guilty to embezzlement, while the government moved to dismiss the remaining charge.

With Oa’s guilty plea, she admits that she embezzled 45 checks belonging to the Kooline Refrigeration valued at $38,528 and $4,530 in bank fees.

Oa told the court that she wrote the checks, forged them, cashed them and used the money for her personal use.

According to the government’s case, on Feb. 29, 2012 the manager of Kooline filed an official complaint against the former clerk.

Richmond accepted the plea agreement and scheduled sentencing for the defendant. Assistant Public defender Mike White asked the court to allow the defendant, who's incarcerated, to be released on her own recognizance given that she's eight months pregnant and she's due to have the baby on January 3, 2013. Richmond consulted with Mamea and Muasau, who concurred to allow Oa to be released from jail. 

The complaining witness, the manager of Kooline, reported to police that the defendant had forged his signature on company checks and used the money for her personal use, or to make payments on the checks she forged.

It’s alleged the defendant had admitted to the manager that she forged the company’s checks as far as back as 2010.

The government claims that after the defendant allegedly admitted that she had forged checks dated back to 2010, the Kooline manager reported to police that he and the company accountant discovered 54 additional company checks which he claimed were forged by the defendant, and copies of the checks were presented to police. 

Court filings state that checks were dated from February 9, 2011 to January 13, 2012. The manager told police he did not sign or approve any of these checks.

JURY TRIAL FOR SEX CASE SET FOR JANUARY 2013

Associate Justice Lyle L Richmond has scheduled the jury trial of police officer Apisai Atoe charged in connection with a sexual case involving a minor in 2010.

Deputy Attorney General Mitzie Jessop is prosecuting this matter with Sharron Rancourt representing the defendant. Other co-defendants are Mike Kim and Motau Simani.

Associate Justice Lyle Richmond scheduled the jury trial of officer Atoe on January 15, 2013. According to court filings, the alleged incident occurred on June 29, 2010 and the victim involved was a-17-year old girl.

The defendant is accused of allegedly trying to cover up an alleged sexual incident when he asked the victim’s father to go to the police and withdraw his complaint against Kim. Atoe is charged with witness tampering and concealing an offense.

The government’s case against the co-defendant Mike Kim, a businessman has him facing, among other charges, conspiracy to commit rape.

Motau Simani is facing five counts, including conspiracy to commit rape. According to court filings, in the same alleged incident, the government claims Samani took the victim to Tumu’s apartments where he claimed he had a job opportunity for the victim.

According to the government’s case Samani left the girl at Tumu’s apartment, where Kim allegedly had sex with her. According to the victim, when the businessman was done, he gave her $100.

POSSIBLE RESOLUTION IN CRIMINAL CASE FROM MANU’A

The government and defense are close to resolution in the case of a Manu’a man who was in court yesterday for his pre-trial conference following an incident in Manu’a last month.

Deputy Attorney General Mitzie Jessop noted that discovery has been submitted in this matter to defense counsel, Assistant Public Defender, Leslie Cardin, and the case is close to resolution.

The defendant is facing five criminal charges, first degree burglary, false imprisonment, trespassing, third degree assault and private peace disturbance.

According to the government report, the victim told police she was attacked by the defendant in her home.

The victim told police she called the Manu’a substation and no one answered, so she contacted the Central Police Station and reported the alleged attack.

In the police affidavit, there are also allegations that this was not the first time the defendant had allegedly broken into the victim’s store.



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