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Court Report

reporters@samoanews.com

BURGLAR ENTERS GUILTY PLEA

A 20-year old man facing multiple criminal charges on allegations that he robbed a store and assaulted the store clerk in the process entered his guilty plea in the High Court on Monday.

Dean Niu of Mapusaga Fou is charged with robbery first degree, burglary first degree, assault third degree, resisting arrest, misdemeanor stealing, property damage third degree and underage drinking.

Niu pled guilty to second-degree burglary, third-degree assault, stealing and property damage while the government moved to dismiss the remaining charges under a plea deal.

Associate Justice Lyle L Richmond who was accompanied on the bench by Associate Judge Mamea Sala Jr accepted the plea agreement and scheduled sentencing for the defendant on September 10, 2012.

Prior to Richmond accepting the plea deal, he made it clear to the defendant that if the court renders a harsher sentence other than what was recommended, he may not come back to change his plea.

The defendant noted he understood.

According to the government’s case, the incident began when the defendant was trying to buy beer after hours, however, the victim refused given that it’s illegal to sell alcohol after 10 p.m.

The defendant is represented by Assistant Public Defender Leslie Cardin, while prosecuting is Assistant Attorney General Kimberly Hyde.

FORMER EMPLOYEE OF KOOLINE ENTERS GUILTY PLEA

A former clerk for Kooline Refrigeration, Fegauai Toese, accused of forging two checks belonging to the company, entered a guilty plea yesterday morning in the High Court.

Toese pleaded guilty to felony stealing while the government moved to dismiss the forgery count.

The plea agreement announced in open court was accepted by Chief Justice Michael Kruse. The stealing count is a class C felony that is punishable with up to five years in jail, a fine of up to $5,000 or both.

According to the government’s case the incident was discovered when the Kooline Refrigeration Samoa manager, who was off island from June 1-9, 2012, found upon his return three checks missing.

The manager told police he tried to contact the defendant, but she had left for Samoa and upon returning to the island she did not return to work.

The manager went to the defendant’s house and confronted the defendant about the missing checks and the defendant admitted to the manager she took three checks but only forged and cashed one check.

She claimed that she had trashed the other two checks.

Court filings say however Toese later returned one of the blank checks she had claimed she had thrown away, while the third check was cashed — the Kooline manager later received a call from ANZ bank that the remaining missing check was cashed.

Toese was employed at Kooline, located in Nu’uuli for just a few months.

The defendant remains in custody on bail of $10,000 and is scheduled to be sentenced on September 14, 2012.

The defendant is represented by Assistant Public Defender Leslie Cardin while prosecuting is Assistant Attorney General Kimberly Hyde.

CASE OF FORMER INSURANCE EMPLOYEES IN HIGH COURT

Two former employees of Florence Saulo and Associates Insurance company arrested on allegations of misappropriating funds of more than $10,000 belonging to the company were in court yesterday for their pre-trial conference.

The defendants, Priscilla Toelei’u and Herema Taupau are each charged with embezzlement, a class C felony which is punishable up to seven years in jail, a fine of up to $5,000, a fine equal to twice the amount of gain from commission of said crime up to $20,000, or both fine and imprisonment.

During yesterday’s hearing held before Chief Justice Michael Kruse, Taupau retained Sharron Rancourt to represent her in this matter.

Rancourt moved for the court to postpone the pre-trial conference for 30 days given that she had just been retained. Kruse granted the request and set the matter for September 10, 2012.

In the meantime, negotiations are still ongoing between the parties for a resolution.

According to the government’s case, on September 7, 2011 the Department of Public Safety received a letter from the President of Florence Saulo and Associates (FSA) Vui Florence Saulo requesting a criminal investigation of two former employees on allegations they had misappropriated company funds close to $12,000.

The matter was uncovered when one of the managers, Adonis Guarin was going through his master file for car insurance policies issued in 2010, and noticed that there were duplicate policy numbers issued to different clients.



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