Hospital’s former business manager voluntarily turns herself in to police
The hospital’s former Business Manager Jennifer Tofaeono recently turned herself in to the police, as she knew there was an outstanding warrant issued by the court several months ago in her name.
Samoa News understands that when the warrant was issued Tofaeono was off island, and she only recently returned and voluntarily turned herself in to OTICIDE Special Agent Henry Satele, on Tuesday this week.
Tofaeono made her initial appearance in court the same day. She’s charged with tampering with evidence, stealing and embezzlement.
Her bail was initially set at $35,000 however during her appearance District Court Judge John Ward reduced bail to $20,000 and she’s now released on bail. Tofaeono’s co-defendant in this case is Felise Toilolo, whose case is pending in the High Court.
According to the government, Special Agent Satele was assigned to investigate the case and was informed by the hospital’s former CFO — on her last day of employment _in May 2013 —that she began an investigation into reports over the course of previous years, from May 2009 through June 2011, regarding credit cards that were being run on the LBJ credit card machines, and the receipts used to collect cash from LBJ cashiers.
Court filings say Satele collected all existing credit card receipts related to LBJ credit card machines along with the associated bank records and the available daily cashier reports for the time period under investigation, from approximately May 2009 through July 2011. Multiple original copies of daily cashier reports from September 2010 through 2011 were not able to be located during the course of the investigation.
The government’s case claims that receipts for the following credit cards belonging to different people and entities were not transferred into LBJ accounts but instead voided through the LBJ merchant machine, and the underlying amounts did not show up on the corresponding bank statements:
1 A credit card in the name of the American Samoa Cancer Coalition with a total amount of $71,740;
2 a credit card in the name of Tofaeono, with a total amount of $11,970;
3 a credit card in the name of Toilolo, with a total amount of $1,610; and
4 a credit card — also in the name of Toilolo — with a total amount of $2,200.
Satele was informed by the Executive Officer of BOH that upon examining the said receipts and bank records, he was of the professional opinion, based on his experience and training, that someone had run credit cards on the machines producing receipts that were later voided. He stated this was because the amounts on the receipts did not show up on the bank records, and they should have, had they not been voided.
Court filings say the investigator spoke to D.P. (a cashier from the hospital) who said she saw Tofaeono in person and Tofaeono was on the phone on an almost daily basis requesting that she (the cashier) hand over money in exchange for a credit card receipt in amounts ranging from $200 to $500.
The investigator also spoke to a supervisor for the cashiers and her responsibilities included checking the cashiers’ turn-ins each day to ensure the total of cash, credit cards and checks balanced out correctly. The supervisor told Satele that Tofaeono requested that the LBJ Finance Office not receive a copy of the credit card report and that she observed Tofaeono’s signature on credit card receipts used at the LBJ cashiers to obtain cash using Tofaeono’s credit card.
One cashier told the investigator that there were cash receipts with Tofaeono’s signature in Tofaeono’s name, or at times, the name of the American Samoa Cancer Coalition. Satele also spoke to the treasurer for the American Samoa Cancer Coalition who had a card that was used so that cash could be withdrawn from the account to pay for stipends for people who took cancer surveys.
Court filings say that withdrawals on the LBJ receipts matched the American Samoa Cancer Coalition credit card, respectively $14,570 for 2009 and $57,170 for 2010, and the treasurer said he was not aware of these withdrawal amounts and would not expect them to be that high. He also told the investigator that those amounts could not be detected on the American Samoa Cancer Coalition bank statements because the transactions never took place and that Jennifer Tofaeono did not have permission or authority to withdraw money out of the American Samoa Cancer Coalition’s bank account or permission to use their credit card in order to deposit funds into her own personal bank account.
According to the government’s case a collection clerk (who later rose to collection manager) said that she was aware of Jennifer Tofaeono using credit cards to obtain cash from LBJ merchant machines, and that she (Tofaeono) would run her card with the merchant machine in the business office, ask one of the collectors if they had enough cash on hand, and exchange it for cash. If there was not enough cash, she would send the receipt with one of the employees to the front lobby or pharmacy for cash.
Tofaeono’s next appearance in District Court is this Friday where she will decide whether or not she wants a preliminary examination, which is a hearing for the court to determine if the government has sufficient evidence to have this matter bound over to the High Court.