Immigration officer admits to criminal conduct in exchange for plea agreement
Immigration Officer Polone Savea, who was charged on allegations that he had issued fake immigration identification to two Chinese women has admitted in court his criminal conduct. This followed a plea deal from the government.
Savea of Matu’u was initially charged in connection with two criminal cases, the first case based on allegations that he issued fake immigration identifications for two Chinese women, for which he faced two counts of forgery and public servant acceding to corruption.
Also in this case, Polone is charged with Matagi Lelilio, who is facing bribery of a public servant, and who’s case is pending in High Court.
The second case against Polone charges him with two counts of forgery and one count of public servant acceding to corruption. In the second case, his co-defendant was Jin Hua Sullivan (aka Nunu), against whom the government has since dismissed charges due to lack of evidence.
In the plea agreement that was read in open court, Savea pled guilty to one count of forgery, a class C felony punishable by imprisonment for seven years, a fine of $5,000, a fine equal to twice the amount of gain from the commission of the crime up to a maximum of $20,000 or both fine and imprisonment.
The government moved to dismiss the remaining charges and all charges in the second case in return for Savea’s guilty plea. Chief Justice Michael Kruse accepted the plea agreement and scheduled sentencing on February 7, 2014 for this matter.
The government claims that the case against Polone began when the AG’s investigating officer was informed about a situation involving fake immigration cards having been issued by the defendant. Court filings say that immigration cards in question were issued to two Chinese women, Ruiquin Liu and Jianxing Huang.
The investigation was triggered due to suspicions raised when an immigration officer working at the Tafuna airport reported that Liu and Huang were accompanied by co-defendant Lelilio to Samoa and they returned to American Samoa on the same day — Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2011. Court filings state that inquiries were run on the immigration ID cards used by Liu and Huang and it was discovered that the Alien Registration numbers on their ID cards (alien registration receipt cards) belonged to different foreigners with inactive or closed files.