Man who stole, forged, and cashed his uncle’s checks gets probation
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man who was convicted of stealing more than $4,000 from his uncle’s bank account has been sentenced to 7 years probation. Jalen Kalolo Jr., 39, was initially charged with 5 counts of forgery, and 5 counts of stealing - all felonies.
But under a plea agreement with the government, accepted by the court two months ago, Kalolo Jr pled guilty to one count of forgery and one count of stealing. In return, the remaining charges were dismissed.
The victim reported the case to police on May 20, 2018, after he discovered that a huge amount of money was missing from his bank account. Kalolo Jr, has remained in custody since his arrest in July 2018, unable to post a $10,000 surety bond.
During sentencing, Kalolo Jr apologized and begged for a chance to return home to care for his wife and their children. He apologized to his uncle - the victim - for stealing money from him, and said he is truly remorseful and he has learned his lesson, having spent 18 months in jail.
His wife took the stand and asked for a chance to allow her husband to return home to help her with the family and to take care of their young children. She testified that her husband is a good man who made a bad decision, and she’s doing everything in her power to ensure her husband pays restitution to his uncle.
According to Kalolo’s wife, she plans to sell one of their vehicles and use the money to pay restitution. And if there is a balance, she will make sure something is paid every two weeks when she receives her paycheck.
Defense attorney Rob McNeill said his client made a mistake and he has no prior criminal record; therefore, he’s a suitable candidate for a probated sentence of 7 years, without any jail time. Prosecutor Lowe agreed and said he spoke to the victim, who told him that he was upset with the defendant for what he did but his main concern is that Kalolo Jr may be involved in illegal activities such as drugs, and if so, that problem needs to be addressed.
Lowe asked the court to make drug testing a condition of Kalolo Jr’s probation, to ensure he’s clean.
Kalolo Jr was sentenced to 7 years probation, on the condition that he serve 28 months at the TCF. He will be credited the 18 months he spent in pretrial confinement. The balance of detention is stayed until further order of the court. He is also ordered to pay restitution of $4,530. A further condition of probation requires him to submit to drug testing.
$4,530 was missing from the victim’s bank account. His bank statement revealed that someone withdrew money without his permission. Five checks were stolen from the victim’s personal check book, and all were cashed at Bank of Hawaii - without his consent.
The first check was dated May 11, 2017 in the amount of $1,300. The second check was dated June 1st for $900. A third check for $600 was dated May 25th, followed by a fourth check dated June 30th for $1,300. The last check was dated July 2nd for $430.
The checks were paid to the order of Jalen Kalolo Jr, the victim's nephew, who forged the victim’s signature, and used his passport to cash the checks. Police had a signed letter Kalolo Jr. gave his uncle, apologizing for forging and cashing his checks, with the promise to pay the money back, and begging for his forgiveness.