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MAN ENTERS GUILTY PLEA IN STEALING CASE
 
Brendon Vaiula of Aua will be sentenced on May 24, 2014 after entering a guilty plea in High Court yesterday morning. Vaiula 22, was charged with forgery and stealing.
 
In a plea agreement with the government, the defendant pled guilty to stealing while the forgery count was dismissed. The stealing count is a class C felony punishable with up to seven years in jail, a fine of up to $5,000 or both.
 
The incident came to light with police when the victim reported two ASG checks issued in his name were allegedly cashed by the defendant in April, 2013.
 
During the plea agreement the defendant admitted to the court that on April 11, 2013 he stole a government check on a desk at the Police Station, along with the driver’s license of the man who owns the check.
 
He noted when he got hold of the check he went to a store in Leloaloa with the victim’s driver’s license and cashed the check in the amount of $1,324.54. The defendant admitted not only did he use the driver’s license of the victim but he also forged the victim’s signature.
 
Chief Justice Michael Kruse asked the defendant how could he have used the driver’s license to cash the check when his face is not the same as the owner of the driver’s license, and the defendant replied he just showed the driver’s license to the cashier and he was able to cash the check.
 
Assistant Public Defender Karen Shelley informed the court police found $600 on the defendant, while $700 had already been used by the defendant. The defense counsel noted the $700 should be paid back to the man who owns the check, however Kruse noted the store has also suffered from this as the defendant received cash from the store.
 
Kruse accepted the plea agreement in the matter.
 
Court filings say the victim informed police he had received two government checks and placed them in his desk on April 10, 2013, however the next day when he arrived at his office, both checks were missing.
 
The victim stated he drove around to different stores to see if anyone had cashed the checks, and when he went into T.I. Inc., he saw video footage of the defendant using his (the victim’s) driver’s license for identification and cashing the check for the amount of $1,324.54.
 
The owner showed the victim the check, and the victim reported the matter to police. The store owner told police the defendant came into the store three times to cash government checks, and the owner told Vaiula that in order for him to cash the checks, he must provide a valid ID.
 
VALLEN MATUATAO JAILED IN CONNECTION WITH BURGLARY
 
Vallen Matuauto, charged in connection with a burglary in Satala that occurred last year, was sentenced to six months in jail during sentencing, as part of his seven years probation.
 
The defendant faced first degree burglary and stealing and was represented by Assistant Public Defender Mike White.
 
In a plea deal with the government, the defendant pled guilty to second degree burglary, which was amended from first degree burglary and stealing. During sentencing Chief Justice Michael Kruse said it appears the defendant and his friends broke into the store because they had nothing better to do.
 
The defendant was sentenced to seven years in jail and fined $1,000. Kruse however suspended the execution of sentence and placed the defendant on seven years probation under condition he serves 20 months, without any release, but the court gave the defendant a chance, and stated six months jail time would suffice.
 
He was also ordered to seek employment, as well as attend and successfully complete the GED program to obtain a high school diploma. Matuauto was also ordered not to consume alcohol, nor congregate with those who are drinking alcohol and is not to hang out with his friends involved in this matter.
 
According to the government’s case on Jan. 5, 2012 around 4:00a.m, police received a call reporting an alleged burglary taking place at a store in Satala and police officers responded to the call.
 
Court filings say the perpetrator had broken in through the back door and police officers found pieces of ice cream and wrappers on the floor and some shoes were missing off the shelves, along with cigarettes allegedly taken. 
 
Court filings further state the defendant said the night before the incident, he and another man planned to break into the store. According to the government’s case the defendant reported that his two friends went inside the store in question while he stayed outside and monitored the area; and after they broke into the store they divided the merchandise among themselves.



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