Wife of Samoan accused of racketeering indicted for false testimony under oath
The wife of a Samoan man — who has been charged along with more than a dozen others in the federal racketeering crimes related to the United Samoan Organization, or 'USO' prison gang — has been charged with a new superseding indictment for providing a false statement in federal documents.
Michelle Malufau was initially charged late last year along with her husband, Feso Malufau Jr., a former Hawaii prison guard, with three criminal counts, including making false statements in their federal bankruptcy case affidavits.
The indictment alleges that Feso Malufau falsely stated in the affidavit that all of his income was from legitimate employment, “when the defendant knew that all of his true source of income included thousands of dollars in bribes... for smuggling contraband into Halawa Correctional Facility”.
The indictment on Feso alleges the smuggling occurred between January and December 2010 during the time the defendant was a guard at the prison located on Oahu island, Hawai’i.
Michelle Malufau is accused of, among other things, claiming she does not hold or control property for another, when she knew she held and controlled property of her deceased mother.
Then early last month, the federal court separated and dismissed the case against Feso Malufau, who was later charged along with 17 others — including prison inmates — for several crimes including racketeering in the case involving members of the USO Family, which prosecutors say is a dominant prison gang in Hawai’i and a “major prison gang nationally.”
Last week, a new superseding indictment was released by the federal court charging Michelle Malufau with one count each of making a false statement and false testimony under oath relating to the couple’s bankruptcy court case.
Regarding the USO Family case, U.S. District Court Judge Leslie Kobayashi on Monday this week granted a joint motion by prosecutor and defense to declare the case “complex” and moved the trial date from November this year to June 17 next year.
The joint motion states that discovery for all 18 defendants will be “voluminous”, consisting of more than 10,000 pages. Given the number of defendants in this case, the nature of the charges, the amount of discovery, and the fact that some defendants have not yet appeared in court for their respective initial appearance, arraignment and plea, it is unreasonable to expect the parties to prepare for trial within the time limits set by the federal Speedy Trial Act.
In approving the joint motion, the court found that failure to grant a continuance would deny defense counsel the reasonable time necessary for effective preparation for trial, taking into account the exercise of due diligence.
The federal indictment in this case charges six defendants, including Feso Malufau and Charles Esera, with racketeering conspiracy, alleging that the conspiracy defendants committed multiple acts of mail fraud, wire fraud, narcotics offenses, and bribery.
The remaining twelve defendants — including Paul Togia, Vaofele Iiga, Potaufa Ula and Daniel Konelio — are charged with committing violent crimes in aid of racketeering.