Court Report



A Lauli’i woman was arraigned in High Court yesterday morning on charges of Embezzlement and Stealing, which are both class C felonies, punishable by up to seven years in jail, a fine up to $5,000 or both fine and imprisonment.


The government accuses Tagi Te’o of misappropriating more than $10,000 from CSL Corporation, according to court filings. Te’o is held on bail of $10,000 and Acting Public Defender Michael White represents her.


Court documents say that on May 13, 2013 CSL reported to police that one of their employees had been embezzling money from CSL and police officer Jay Vaoali’i was assigned to investigate the matter. The lead investigator met with one of the owners of CSL, who said she noticed there were several discrepancies or missing money from CSL’s checking account, totaling some $10,696.31.


The co-owner said the defendant had been in charge of conducting banking for CSL’s payroll and she was also responsible for all accounts receivable and accounts payable. Police were also informed that the defendant was among the senior employees who had been working at CSL for about 10 years.


Court filings say the defendant had posted numerous bank deposits on CSL’s accounting system during the past year, but the deposits posted on CSL’s accounts with ANZ and Bank of Hawai’i did not match.


The co-owner then informed police that she conducted her own investigation and discovered that a majority of the missing deposits were cash payments, in addition to a few check deposits that had been switched in CSL’s accounting system for cash.


The government claims that on April 25, 2013, Officer Vaoali'i met with CSL co-owner and the defendant, who allegedly admitted that she took the cash because she was struggling financially, with the intention of paying the money back to CSL. It's alleged that as a result of the meeting the defendant was then terminated from CSL.


The co-owner then told police that since Te’o’s termination from CSL, numerous fictitious bank charges were found in CSL’s accounting system to disguise the cash she was taking from CSL. The co-owner told police the defendant falsified an invoice to hide a $700 cash payment Te’o received but had not posted in CSL’s bank account, along with other payments that were never deposited into the company’s bank accounts.


 According to court filings, the defendant admitted that she took cash payments on various occasions and used them for her personal use and the court document alleged that she had taken approximately $6,000 to $8,000.




A stepfather accused of making threats to his stepdaughter and also of touching her in a sexual manner, was sentenced to 20 months in jail as part of his five-year probation. Samoa News is withholding the defendant’s name to protect the identity of the victim in this matter. The stepfather was initially charged with two counts of sexual abuse, first degree and third degree assault.


However, in a plea agreement, the defendant pleaded guilty to one count of sexual abuse in the first degree, a class D felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison, a fine of $5,000 or both.


Associate Justice Lyle L Richmond sentenced the defendant to five years in jail, however execution of sentencing was suspended and he has been placed on probation for a period of five years under the condition that he serves 20 months in jail.


Court filings say that it was reported to the police that the stepfather was touching his stepdaughter inappropriately.


Police then spoke to the victim, who stated her stepfather asked her to come sleep with him and she did so, with her back facing him. Court filings say the victim felt the defendant’s hand caressing and massaging her breasts. 


A similar incident occurred afterwards, according to court filings, which also say that the victim told police the defendant found out she was pregnant, and he was angry with this and threatened to slice her throat with a knife.




The two men charged with stealing and forgery, Benjamin Auvea and Jensen Save, yesterday entered guilty pleas as part of their plea agreement with the government. Each defendant is facing four counts of stealing and four counts of forgery, which are all class C felonies punishable by up to seven years in jail, a fine up to $5,000, and a fine twice the amount gained from commission of up to $20,000 for each count.


In the plea deal, each pled guilty to one count of stealing and one count of forgery, while the remaining charges are dismissed.


Associate Justice Lyle L Richmond accepted the plea agreement and scheduled sentencing in this matter on August 26, 2013.


According to the government’s case, a woman reported to police that her checkbook was missing from her home in December 2012. However she was surprised that her Bank of Hawai’i account was overdrawn when she attempted to withdraw funds.


On January 11, 2013 an Asian man who owns a store in Kokoland, and who later showed the victim her checks, which were not in her handwriting and did not have her signature, contacted the victim. The storeowner informed the victim that in December and January the defendants came into his store and both gave him the checks. 


Court filings say both defendants told the storeowner that they had worked for the victim. Three of the checks were written during the latter part of December 2012, and a fourth check was written on Jan. 1, 2013.


The government claims, police questioned Auvea who admitted they both had the checkbook belonging to the victim and together they had signed the checks and used them to buy beer and food on at least three occasions. Save told police the signatures on the checks were his.


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