FUAMOLI VAISAGOTE JAILED FOR 20 MONTHS
Chief Justice Michael Kruse sentenced Fuamoli Vaisagote, a former employee of GHC Reid & Co. Ltd., accused of removing close to $4,000+ from the company’s deposit bag, to serve 20 months in jail as a condition of her five year probation.
Vaisagote, who has been behind bars on bail of $10,000 was initially charged with embezzlement; however in a plea agreement with the government, she pled guilty to the amended charge of conspiracy to commit embezzlement, a lesser charge, and Kruse accepted the plea deal.
During sentencing the defendant — who’s a mother of three minor children — sought the court’s forgiveness and leniency, noting that she’s a single mother. The defendant also apologized to the government and GHC Reid for her actions and asked the court to allow her to return home to her children so she can attain a job to provide for them and at the same time pay back the company’s money.
The defendant’s father also took the stand and pleaded with the court to allow his daughter to return home, given that she has minor children and he’s the only provider for their family. Assistant Public Defender Mike White informed the court this is the defendant’s first offense, she has taken responsibility for her actions and is sincerely remorseful.
White pleaded with the court to take into consideration the defendant has minor children and they need their mother at home.
Kruse noted, in sentencing, that there has been an increase of similar cases and deterrence needs to be adhered to.
The Chief Justice sentenced the defendant to pay a fine of $2,000 and restitution of $4,648. Another condition the defendant must abide by is to remain a law abiding citizen.
Kruse also noted that after serving six months the court can entertain a work release motion from the defendant. According to the government’s case, the company filed an official complaint against Vaisagote on Apr. 13, 2012, for stealing money from the company a year earlier. It’s alleged that on Apr. 13, 2011 one of the company managers discovered the theft.
DAVID BROWN TO BE SENTENCED FOLLOWING GUILTY PLEA
Chief Justice Michael Kruse will hand down sentencing for David Brown after he entered a guilty plea in the High Court on Monday. Brown is facing charges of first degree burglary, second degree assault and property damage on allegations that he broke into a store in Ili’ili and attempted to stab the store owner.
In a plea deal with the government the defendant pled guilty to attempted burglary in the first degree amended from first degree burglary while the government moved to dismiss the remaining charges in this case. The Chief Justice accepted the plea deal.
Brown, who’s being held on $20,000 bail, is represented by Assistant Public Defender Mike White while prosecuting is Assistant Attorney General Camille Philippe.
The defendant is scheduled to have his change of plea hearing next week Monday. According to the government’s case, in the early morning hours of Feb. 9, 2013, police received a call from a Chinese couple requesting assistance regarding a burglary taking place.
It’s alleged that when the police arrived at the scene they were told by a bystander that two men were inside the store but when the police entered the store, the pair took off on foot.
The Chinese couple informed the police that they were sleeping when they heard noises coming from the store, and when they opened the door, one of the suspects swung a knife at the man but missed and the knife landed on the door.
The man managed to get back into his bedroom, lock the door and sought assistance from the police and the landlord. According to the government’s case, the suspects gained entrance into the store by removing three wooden slabs on the side of the store and kicking in the kitchen door. It's alleged that two cleaver knives were missing from the kitchen and that after the burglary, one of the knives was identified to have been used during the burglary.
Police on the day in question drove around the Ili’ili area and came across two men who matched the description given by the Chinese couple. It's alleged that when police approached the pair, one took off on foot but they were able to apprehend Brown.
The defendant told the police that he had just met the suspect that took off on foot. Court filings say that Brown told the police that the suspect had come to his house in Nu’uuli telling him they were going to break into the store. He also stated that the other suspect planned the entire operation and had walked there from Nu’uuli, through Petesa and Happy Valley and all the way to Ili’ili.
Brown said they got to Ili’ili and the other suspect went into the store and came out with a flashlight and then they both went into the store. It's alleged that the other suspect kicked in the kitchen door to enter the store and was trying to get through another door but they were unsuccessful. Brown claims it was the other suspect who held the knife.
DEFENDANT IN SEX RELATED CASE ENTERS GUILTY PLEA
Kaio Levao, will be sentenced next week Friday after he entered a guilty plea before Chief Justice Michael Kruse. This matter was initially scheduled for a jury trial. However, last week, the Public Defender filed a plea agreement with the court in this matter.
Levao 45, was initially charged with sexual abuse first degree, third degree assault and public peace disturbance and he entered a guilty plea to attempted sexual abuse first degree a misdemeanor which was amended from the first degree sexual abuse count, while the government moved to dismiss the remaining charges.
Kruse accepted the plea agreement and scheduled sentencing for next week Friday.
According to the government’s case a 19-year-old female filed a complaint of being sexually assaulted by Levao, when she went to return videos to a store in Fagatogo. According to the government’s case, Levao told police that he thought that because the victim had already given birth, it was okay for him to touch her inappropriately. He admitted to touching the victim in both incidents.