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Former DGX manager admits in court: “There’s no justification for what I did”

reporters@samoanews.com

“There’s no justification for what I did, give me what I deserve and I am not asking for leniency.” That was the admission made in court by former DGX station manager, Crystal Te’o who embezzled more than $132,000 from the Dependable Global Express (DGX) Company.

The sentencing hearing held last Friday was presided over by Chief Justice Michael Kruse, where Te’o of Pago Pago was charged with two counts of embezzlement. She entered a guilty plea to both counts.

Each embezzlement charge carries a jail-term of up to seven years and/or a fine of $5,000 — or a fine equal to twice the amount gained from the crime up to $20,000 — or both fine and imprisonment.

Te’o took issue with the pre-sentence report prepared by the probation office. She told the court it was not fair for the probation office to note she didn’t show any sign of remorse, which was an assumption.

Te’o added she’s fully remorseful,  and not a day passes she doesn’t think about her actions and how remorseful she is.

She apologized to the DGX company for putting their faith and hope in her and yet she “burned them”. This is an embarrassment and yet it’s something that she’ll have to live with given her actions, she told the court.

Te’o apologized to her parents and said she wished this would not have a reflection on her parents because it does not reflect them.

She also apologized to her two daughters who were present in the court, saying  “mommy was foolish and selfish and I’m sorry for hurting you, and I can’t take my actions back but I’m willing to make amends.”

 “Mommy’s got to go in (to jail) and come out a better person and I’m doing this for you.” 

“I love you both and I’m really sorry,” she added.

The defendant also apologized to her siblings, noting that even though she was not a nice person she was trying, and her siblings have been by her side since she was arrested.

To the court she said, “There’s no justification for what I did, give me what I deserve and I am not asking for leniency.”

The defendant also apologized to the tax payers of American Samoa.

Assistant Public Defender Mike White told the court he has nothing much to add, given the defendant’s admission, however he made it clear that Te’o is remorseful of her actions, because from day one she said that she’s ready to accept responsibility for her actions.

Assistant Attorney General Cable Poag recommended the defendant be jailed and also placed on probation so she can pay restitution in the amount of $132,245.94, the money she embezzled from DGX.

Chief Justice Michael Kruse noted that upon deliberation with Chief Associate Judge Logoai Siaki and Associate Judge Fa’amausili Pomele a difficult question came up.

Kruse noted the defendant embezzled more than $132,000 and yet she told the probation office that she will not be able to pay back the money.

Kruse told the government “don’t give a meaningless gesture to the court”.

He told Assistant AG Poag that there were cases in previous years where defendants were placed on probation with a condition to pay restitution, and those women ended up back in jail, because they could not pay the money back.

Poag told the court that the defendant has a responsibility to pay back the money she embezzled. The defendant’s lawyer, Mike White told the court the defendant can make some type of payment.

The Chief Justice again told the government don’t make meaningless sentencing submissions. Kruse then moved to continue the matter and said the government should come up with a more meaningful sentence recommendation.

The Chief Justice then scheduled the sentencing for this coming Friday, August 10, 2012. According to the plea agreement between the defendant and the government Te’o agreed to pay restitution back to the DGX Company.

According to the government’s case, defendant Te’o had been employed by DGX from June 2009 to April 6, 2012 and a complaint was filed by the current DGX station manager Alvina Savali with police.

Savali told police that when she took over the defendant’s position, she was contacted by various businesses claiming outstanding balances for services transacted by Te’o.

According to court filings, the station managers for DGX must seek approval to route a request for payment through the corporate office so that the proper fund transfers may be made to cover the expenses. However, Te’o did not seek approval from the corporate office for the expenses. Evidence received by police brought the total amount embezzled to over $132,000.



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