INMATE CONVICTED OF ESCAPING WHILE ON WORK RELEASE
Inmate To’oto’o Seumalo has been convicted of escaping from police custody while on work release and is sentenced to 20 months in jail as part of his five year sentence that was handed down yesterday. The sentencing hearing was held before High Court Associate Justice Lyle L Richmond. Seumalo was represented by Assistant Public Defender Mike White while prosecuting this matter was Assistant Attorney General Kimberly Hyde.
During sentencing the defendant apologized for his actions and pleaded with the court to allow him to depart the territory and remain outside during the tenure of his probation term.
However, Associate Justice Lyle Richmond noted that the court must apply parity given previous similar cases.
The defendant was sentenced to five years in jail, however execution of sentencing was stayed while he’s placed on a five year probation with the condition that he serve 20 months. This is to run consecutively with the previous five year sentence he was serving for a previous conviction.
According to the government's case the Vice and Narcotics unit with the Department of Public Safety was assigned to investigate possible ongoing escapes by several inmates at the TCF while out on work release and Seumalo was among those inmates, say court documents.
MAN HELD ON $35,000 BAIL IN SEX CASE
A 21-year-old man who admitted to repeatedly having sex with a 15-year-old girl was arraigned in the High Court yesterday morning, where he denied the charges against him. The matter was presided over by Associate Justice Lyle L Richmond and Associate Judge Muasau Tasina Tofili
The defendant, Utoaluga Simaea, is facing charges of rape, sodomy, deviate sexual assault, sexual abuse first degree and endangering the welfare of a child. According to the government’s case on March 28, 2013 a woman filed a complaint with the Department of Public Safety about the defendant, who was seeing her minor daughter, and Sgt. Vaina Vaofanua, watch commander at the Tafuna West Substation, investigated the case.
Court filings say police met with the defendant who admitted picking up the victim on her way to school in the morning and having sex with her on many occasions.
According to the government’s case, the victim said she had sex with the defendant numerous times. Court filings also state the defendant admitted to police that he was aware that it’s against the law to have sexual intercourse with young girls.
Pretrial conference for this matter has been scheduled for next month.
PROBATION REVIEW FOR CASE OF FORMER ACTING POLY MANAGER
Former Acting Manager of Polynesian Airlines Pago Pago station, Judy Mata’utia, implicated in the theft of $11,380.44 and sentenced to 28 months in jail as part of her seven-year sentence, was in court earlier this week for a probation review. The probation hearing was presided over by Associate Justice Lyle L Richmond.
Judy Mata’utia was initially charged with embezzlement and passing bad checks, however the plea deal with the government had the defendant pleading guilty to embezzlement, while the charge of passing bad checks was dismissed.
The defendant during this hearing, informed the court that her family would be assisting her by paying $400 a month starting in June. The court rescheduled another status hearing in July to see if Mata’utia will follow her statement to the court, and the court on that day may also amend the jail sentence. She’s to pay $9,000 restitution and a $2,000 fine.
During the plea agreement hearing, the defendant admitted that she embezzled money from the Samoa Government owned airline from March 2010 to October 2011. When asked how much money was involved, Mata’utia had responded that she didn't know.
The defendant noted she understood the conditions of the plea agreement. According to court documents, Mata’utia was acting area manager for Polynesian Airline's office in Pago Pago between March and October of 2010, when the crime occurred.
According to the government’s case, Mata’utia used the money for her personal use and allegedly fabricated bank deposit slips and forwarded the deposit slips to the airline’s main office in Samoa.
The defendant is also charged with one count of passing bad checks by writing six checks from her personal bank account, which had already been closed.
The checks, made out to Polynesian Airlines, were allegedly used to balance some of the cash she had taken from the deposits.