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Hawaii court sentences Samoan man to five years

fili@samoanews.com

The federal court in Honolulu has sentenced a Samoan man to more than five years in jail and he must pay $25,000 in restitution to a Hawai’i financial institution, which was defrauded by the defendant.
 
Felix Oli Tigilau, who resides in Honolulu, was charged last December with one count each of bank fraud and impersonating a federal officer, according to court documents. He pled guilty early this year to each count, without a plea agreement.
 
According to court documents, the defendant was sentenced Aug. 15 by U.S. District Court Judge Leslie E. Kobayashi, who imposed a sentence of 48 months imprisonment for the bank fraud charge, followed by five-years of supervised release; and 36 months for the impersonation count followed by one-year of supervised released.
 
The jail term and supervised release are to be served concurrently according to court records, which also state that after the sentence was handed down, the defendant was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshall service.
 
Kobayashi also set conditions of supervised release which includes the defendant paying restitution of $25,677 to First Hawaiian Bank.  Other conditions are that he does not possess any illegal controlled substance and is prohibited from possessing a firearm, ammunition or  other dangerous weapon, say court documents.
 
The court recommended that Tigilau be enrolled in educational and vocational programs.
 
A five-page indictment charging the defendant states that Tigilau executed a scheme to defraud the First Hawaiian Bank by using false pretenses to convince debt collector, Financial Recovery Service (FRS), to allow him to pay off a debt for a third party using an account that Tigilau was not authorized to use.
 
Specifically, the indictment says Tigilau instructed FRS to arrange for an electric check to be issued in a bank account, which belonged to a Honolulu bakery. The account was with First Hawaiian Bank and the incident occurred in May last year.
 
Tigilau contacted FRS via phone saying that he handles the payouts for the bakery’s account and had authority to pay off the third party’s debt of $25,677.  The electronic check was issued by FRS, who then received the payment from the bank, according to the indictment, which didn’t state how this incident was discovered.
 
For the charge of impersonating a federal officer, Tigilau was accused of falsely pretending to be an officer or employee of the U.S. government to obtain $700 around Nov. 16 of this year, according to the indictment, which did not provide any specific details about this charge. t



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