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FORMER INSURANCE EMPLOYEES JAILED FOR FIVE WEEKENDS

Two former employees of Florence Saulo and Associates Insurance Company, Priscilla Toelei’u and Herema Taupau were sentenced to five weekends in jail in connection with 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.

Under a 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.

During sentencing on Tuesday, Chief Justice Michael Kruse said, the underlying conduct was that the defendants were insurance agents who used funds from the insurance company. The defendants said it was a morality call because they were not being treated well and their pay was not enough, he said.

Kruse further stated, according to the probation report the owner of the Insurance Company does not wish for the defendants to be jailed, rather just pay back what they took from the company. “We keep seeing in court theft cases involving young mothers who simply have no caution for their children and families, when they reach into the cash that is within their reach,” he said.

The CJ sentenced the defendants to three years in jail, however execution of sentence is suspended and the defendants are placed on five years probation on the condition that they serve one year in jail.

The Chief Justice further fashioned sentencing for the defendants and noted that they will serve only five weekends in jail, from Friday 6PM to Sunday 6PM. They were also ordered to pay restitution of $6,150 each and they will be credited for the money already tendered. The defendants were also ordered to visit the probation office regularly.

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

HYMEI SEFO ENTERS GUILTY PLEA IN TWO BURGLARY CASES

The High Court has accepted the plea agreement made between the government and Hymie Sefo charged in connection with two burglary cases, one which occurred at Leone High School and one at Kruse Store in Leone.

Regarding the high school case, Sefo is charged with receiving stolen property, first degree burglary and conspiracy to commit burglary in the first degree. He pled guilty to receiving stolen property while the remaining charges were dismissed.

According to the plea that was read in court, Sefo admitted that he had received a laptop from Mu Matu’u a co-defendant. In his plea the defendant admitted that he did not want to be caught with a stolen laptop so he threw that laptop away. The defendant also agreed that he would pay $1400 restitution to the Department of Education.

In connection with the Kruse store case, the defendant pled guilty to stealing, the one count he was charged with in this matter. The government case against Sefo in connection with the burglary of the FJP Kruse Inc Store in Leone two years ago, states that the Sefo was involved.

The court affidavit states that Sefo was terminated from Kruse’s store three months prior to the break in.

According to the government’s case, Sefo admitted to police that two weeks prior to the break in, he and two other suspects conspired to break into the store, and at the time one of the two suspects was working as a watchman for the store.

Associate Justice Lyle L Richmond scheduled sentencing for March, 2013.



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