DOH employees busted in hi-tech forgery scheme
Two female employees with the Department of Health made their initial appearance in the District Court earlier this week on allegations that one defendant altered a payroll check and deposited it into her co-defendants account.
Taufau Maxine Sagale and Sieni Paopao Ioapo are each charged with forgery and stealing and each count carries a jail term of up to seven years, and/or a fine of up to $5,000.
Ioapo is out on bail of $10,000 while Sagale remains in jail, as she’s unable to post bond.
According to the government’s case, Criminal Investigation Division Detective Sgt Falema’i Paepule was informed by a Treasury Department Official that a monthly reconciliation by the Treasury Department revealed that a duplicate transaction occurred with one payroll check.
The government’s case claims that a transaction had occurred with an “altered fraudulent payroll check” for $2,400 that was deposited into an account that belongs to Ioapo. Court filings say there are two checks, the first check for Ioapo in the amount of $131.02 was the authorized check, while the other check ($2,400) was an “altered and unauthorized ASG payroll check” The checks were both listed in the name of the defendant’s colleague.
Police saw the two checks in question — which had the same check number of 1819175 bearing Ioapo’s name — and she is currently employed by the government. The government’s case claims that Ioapo informed police she knew everything happened when this transaction was initiated because she needed the money to pay for her son’s tuition for school. She alleged it was into her account that the $2,400 was deposited.
Court filings say Ioapo told police that her colleague Sagale “helped” her with the transaction and did the e-deposit into her account; and when the deposit “kicked” in to her account she told Sagale to go with her to withdraw the money. Ioapo further stated she withdrew $200 and gave $100 to Sagale.
Court filings say Sagale also admitted she had helped Ioapo who had “approached” her asking for financial assistance. “I told her I did not have any money but I knew a way to get some. I told her that she can only do it once because I (Sagale) got caught once and I am still paying $250 — deducted from my payroll check.”
Court filings allege Sagale said “I did all the work and Ioapo helped me.”
Sagale further told police she typed in $2,400 and showed Ioapo how to do the e-deposit to her account. Court filings say Sagale told police she had done this before, and approximately $12,000 was what she had e-deposited into her account. She said when she got caught she paid up front $5,000 and has since been paying for the rest.
(Samoa News should point out that court documents do not identify the office either women work at in the DoH; and, there is also no explanation how the alleged fraudulent e-deposits were possible.)
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