MATAGI LELILI’O JAILED IN IMMIGRATION ID SCAM
Matagi Lelili’o, one of the two people charged for involvement in issuing fake immigration identification cards to four Chinese women on separate occasions was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine and sentenced to ten days in jail as part of her two-year probation. Chief Justice Michael Kruse handed down the sentence.
Lelilio is the co-defendant with Immigration officer Polone Savea, and she was initially charged with bribery of a public servant. However, last October she pled guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery, a misdemeanor that was amended from the more serious charge of bribery.
Lelilio admitted she had conspired to commit bribery by giving Savea $600 to make fraudulent ID cards for the Chinese women.
The defendant apologized to the court for her criminal conduct and pleaded with the court to be lenient in handing down her sentence. She said the incident has taught her a valuable lesson and promised the court this appearance before the court will be her first and last.
The Chief Justice asked Lelili’o if she was working at the Taumafa Restaurant with the Chinese woman who was involved, and the defendant responded, yes.
She told the court a person had asked her for assistance in obtaining two immigration I.D’s for Chinese women, and she offered to help them.
Assistant Public Defender Joel Shiver requested the defendant be placed on probation, saying that this is her first offense. The Chief Justice noted that Lelili’o is from Samoa and she had moved to the territory with her family when she was a baby. She has lived and worked here until today.
The court also noted Lelilio has been a law-abiding citizen until this incident and she was cooperative with the government’s investigation into this matter. Kruse sentenced Lelilio to one year in prison, however execution of sentence has been suspended and she’s placed on probation for two years with the condition she serve ten days in jail, which will be on the weekends.
Another part of the defendant’s term is that she’s to serve her probation outside of the territory, however the court has stayed that part due to her good behavior and compliance with all other probation terms.
According to the government’s case, the investigation was triggered after suspicions were raised when an immigration officer working at the Tafuna airport reported that two Chinese women were accompanied by Lelilio to Samoa and then 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 the Alien Registration numbers on their ID cards (alien registration cards) belonged to different foreigners with inactive or closed files.
CASE FOR CONVICTED MURDERER WHO ESCAPED JAIL SET FOR TRIAL
A convicted murderer who allegedly escaped from the Tafuna Correctional Facility to engage in sexual intercourse with a married woman last year in June has asked the court for a Jury Trial. Maeli Isumu Pitoitua vehemently denies the one count of escaping from confinement.
Assistant Public Defender Mike White represents him, while prosecuting this case is Assistant Attorney General Tiffany Oldsfield. The escape charge carries a jail term of up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $5,000 or both fine and prison.
During his pre-trial conference yesterday, the defendant through his lawyer asked for a Jury trial, which is now scheduled for next year March (2015).
The incident came to light when the woman’s husband contacted police that an inmate had been seen at his residence in the early morning hours of June 2013.
WOMAN FACING ROBBERY AND STEALING CHARGES AWAITS EVALUATION
A woman being held on a ‘no bail’ status on charges of first-degree robbery, stealing and public peace disturbance has come before Chief Justice Michael Kruse for her pre-trial conference. Public Defender Douglas Fiaui, Attorney for Rotorua Toailoa, told the court he's waiting for a response from the psychiatrist to conduct an evaluation for the defendant.
Kruse then rescheduled another pretrial conference and at the same time set a jury trial date in this matter for March 2, 2015. Prosecuting is Assistant Attorney General Tiffany Oldsfield.
According to the government’s case, the woman went into a sewing shop and threatened one of the seamstresses in an attempt to take money from her. Initially her bail was set at $2,000 however when her case was called it was discovered that she is in the territory illegally. District Court Judge John Ward set a ‘no bail’ status for the defendant.