Community Briefs


Tax payers in American Samoa has until the close of business on Apr. 16th to file their 2011 tax returns, which is expected to keep the Tax Office very busy heading into a two-day holiday on Apr. 17 and 18 for Flag Day 2012.

And for those unable to file their complete tax return, they can file an extension, giving them until mid August to file the actual tax return. However, Tax Office manager Melvin Joseph said the filing an extension “is not an extension to pay anything owed in taxes”.  He said the extension will prevent late filers from having to pay a penalty if any money is owed.

By law, tax returns from the previous year is to filed by the close of business on Apr. 15th but because it falls on a Sunday, the deadline is extended to the close of business the next day - Apr. 16th, Joseph told Samoa News on Thursday. 

And as of Thursday morning over 8,000 tax returns have been filed with the Tax Office, said Joseph.


The federal court in Oakland, Calif., has made amendments in the judgement against Julie Matau, the former grants manager of the now defunct U’una’i Legal Service Corporation, who was sentenced last month to 12 months and one day in jail for her role in the stealing of close to $160,000 of federal funds awarded to U’una’i.

According to the amended judgement, the defendant pled guilty to two counts of wire fraud and “the remaining counts are dismissed” based on a motion by the federal government. Julie Matau and her daughter Andrea - who pled guilty to a misdemeanor - were charged with several counts in this case.

Julie Matau was ordered to pay $159,763 in restitution and the amended judgement states that half of this money goes to the U.S. Justice Department’s Office of Violence Against Women and the balance to the federal Legal Service Corporation. Both federal entities funded U’una’i.

Julie Matau is to self surrender on May 29th at a designated federal prison, to start serving the jail term.


With just one month to go, overseas fishermen are gearing up for the 13th Ia Lapo’a (Big Fish) Game Fishing Tournament in American Samoa. The tournament is set for May 7-12th.

To date 20 overseas boats and teams have confirmed for the May tournament, 14 from New Zealand and six from neighboring Samoa, a record for the event, according to the American Samoa Visitor’s Bureau e-newsletter for March. 

Joining the off-island teams will be up to seven local boats and teams. The tournament is hosted by Pago Pago Game Fishing  Association with major sponsors being  Steinlager and the American Samoa Visitors Bureau with the support from local businesses on island. 

Organizers are expecting up to 100 fishermen vying for the US$20,000 in cash prizes, as well as a daily prize of US$15,000 for that big fish, with a wide range of fishing gear and equipment also up for grabs, said Visitor’s Bureau executive director David Vaeafe.


The U.S. Department of Labor has  yet to complete its probe into paying of wages to ASG workforce.  Samoa News reported last December that the federal agency’s Wage and Hour Division surveyor was in the territory in late September and early October to conduct routine review of compliance of local employers with federal labor law.

Labor Department officials told Samoa News at the time that no private sector was identified with not complying with federal laws but did open an investigation into ASG and LBJ Medical Center.

Responding to Samoa News questions on the status of the ASG review, DOL spokesperson Jose Carnevali said this week that it “is not closed and because of it we cannot comment” at this time.

ASG officials testified before the Fono this year that the local government is fully cooperating with the federal government on this review.

For LBJ, it has been ordered by DOL to paid back $628,115 to 481 employees, including certified nursing assistants, licensed practical nurses, housekeepers and food service assistants, who didn’t get the right over-time pay or  who didn’t get the minimum wage pay.

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