Former LBJ finance officer in court on stealing charge
A former LBJ Hospital finance officer, Felise Toilolo also known as ‘Felicia’ was arraigned in High Court last week on one count of stealing, where she denied the charge against her, a class C Felony punishable with up to seven years in jail, a fine of up to $5,000 or both. Toilolo is accused of misappropriating hospital funds to the tune of $4,000.
The lead investigator in this case was OTICIDE Special Agent Henry George Satele, a former police officer.
According to court filings, Toilolo and former Hospital Business Manager Jennifer Tofaeono’s names are on the arrest warrant and the affidavit supporting the criminal charges filed in this case; however, Tofaeono has since left the territory.
The government’s case claims that Satele was alerted to irregularities in LBJ’s credit card account by LBJ’s former Chief Financial Officer only identified as ‘V.B.’ V.B. was hired by the hospital in June 2011 to be in charge of overseeing the financial assets and liabilities for LBJ. Court filings say V.B. began her investigation into reports that —over the course of several years, from May 2009 through June 2011— credit cards were being run on LBJ credit card machines and the receipts were then used to collect cash from LBJ cashiers.
The government claims receipts found for a credit card in the name of the American Samoa Cancer Coalition totaling $71,740 had not been transferred into LBJ accounts but instead were voided through LBJ merchant machines, and the amounts did not show on the corresponding bank statements. Court filings further state that receipts for a credit card number in the name of Tofaeono with a total amount of $11,970 was not transferred into LBJ accounts but voided through LBJ’s merchant machine and the amounts did not show up on the corresponding bank statements.
The government further claims that there were also receipts of the credit card in the name of Toilolo in the total amount of $3,810 which were not transferred into hospital accounts but voided through the LBJ merchant machine and those amounts did not show on the corresponding bank statements.
Court filings say that a Bank of Hawaii official, upon examining the receipts and bank records, “is of the professional opinion based on his experience and training that someone had run credit cards on the machines producing receipts that were later voided. He stated this was because the amounts on the receipts did not show up on the bank records as they should have, had they not been voided.”
Court filings say that a cashier at the hospital told the investigator that she observed Toilolo attach authorization forms for Tofaeono’s credit card receipts in exchange for U.S. currency when Tofaeono was off island and noted that she heard Toilolo speaking about this process. This cashier also told the investigator that she recalled one occasion when Tofaeono and another employee came into the office on a Saturday, which was unusual, and together removed records from the cabinet of the front lobby office and Tofaeono allegedly stated that she needed the records to prepare reports for the CFO.
Another cashier told the investigator that during her time as a cashier she observed Tofaeono occasionally run receipts from the merchant machine or sign the receipt, and instruct one of the cashiers to exchange it for U.S. currency and Tofaeono would do this same thing regularly over a period of at least two years.
Toilolo in a statement to the hospital CFO said that she was hired in 1997 by LBJ as a cashier and made her way into the finance office as a Patient Business Advocate. In the statement Toilolo said that she would use her credit card to obtain cash from the LBJ merchant machines, but did not remember how many times or for how much.
She further stated that she saw Tofaeono run her credit card as well on a daily basis and deposit the money into her account. However if Tofaeono were off-island, other employees would input Tofaeono’s credit card numbers into the LBJ machines and run the transactions for cash, fill out the deposit slip, and then turn the cash over for deposit into Tofaeono’s account.
“Jennifer TOFAEONO is the person who would settle the machine – in other words, post all credit card transactions to the bank at the end of the day,” the court filing says.
Court filings further state that Toilolo noted that occasionally she would do it, but usually it was Tofaeono who made the transaction, however if Tofaeono were off-island, to her understanding, Tofaeono would e-mail other employees and instruct them not to settle the machine until she could do it upon her return.
Toilolo said in December 2009, she asked Tofaeono if she could swipe her debit card in exchange for cash, to which Tofaeono replied yes, however Toilolo noticed that the funds were not ever removed from her bank account and she swiped her card for cash several additional times, and “still no funds were taken out of my bank account.”
Toilolo stated for the record that she saw voided receipts being printed out of the merchant machine, and placed with the voided receipts in a plastic container on her desk along with the history reports from the merchant machines.
“After Tofaeono resigned from LBJ, I (Toilolo) asked her about the credit card reports and she told me not to worry, that she had fixed the problem and gotten rid of all the reports by burning them and throwing them away,” say court filings.
The government initially charged the defendant with embezzlement and stealing, however during a plea agreement last week, District Court Judge John Ward ruled that the government did not have sufficient evidence for the embezzlement count to be bound over. Toilolo’s case was bound over to the High Court on the stealing charge.
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