Today in the High Court of Samoa, Punaotala (Tara) Sakai and Masetoni Isaako pleaded guilty to $5,230.00 (WST) THEFT AS A SERVANT from my company Gold Tick Services Ltd in October/November 2010.
Sentencing will be in early December before the same Judge (Spicer).
The original charge was for over $WST39,000.00 T.A.A.S., however the Attorney General withdrew all items not actually confessed by the couple to the court, and there will be no further action as a result.
UPDATE, Jan 2012: According to the Investigating Officer, Masetoni Isaako received 9 months jail. Tara Sakai failed to appear and a warrant for her arrest has been issued.
UPDATE, April 2012: According to the Investigating Officer, Punaotala (Tara) Sakai was arrested in early April 2012 on further charges of theft/false pretenses (not against us), and was held in custody until she received 24 months jail at her sentencing on Monday 23 April 2012 according to Justice Slicer’s ruling, “as and from 27 March 2012″.
Samoa Observer (27 April 2012) has a front page story reporting Tara’s attempt to be exported to serve her sentence in New Zealand entitled “Woman begs to be deported” and the sentence in full. It quotes our Victim Impact Statement extensively. Of note also is Justice Slicer’s summary of her criminal record that indicates some serious recidivist criminal activity that commenced in 1997 including:
- Aliases (6)
- Theft (4)
- Document Fraud (55)
- Breach of Supression Orders (2)
- Obtaining Financial Benefit by Deception (9)
- Breach of Conditions of Detention (1)
- Breach of Community Work Orders (1)
- Breach of Bail (3)
UPDATE 21 June 2012!
Punaotala Sakai, (Tara Sakai) and Masetoni Isaako today pleaded guilty to all charges laid against them, being forgery and theft of two cheques totalling $3.429.45 WST from Samoa Commercial Bank. These are not the several cheques that she stole from me, rather from the offices of Life, a Catholic community service organisation that, like us, had helped her in no small way previously.
My involvement in today’s hearing was two-fold:
First, last night I received a phone call from the Police summonsing me to appear in court today. Never mind the papers, summonses now come by cellphone! I had 12 hours to appear or I would risk a fine of $100.00. Thanks guys! Again the Samoan Police show their professionalism by waiting until the night before the hearing to seek the co-operation of all the witnesses [sarcasm] as I know the other witnesses too were subpoenaed to “appear in court the next day” despite the fact that we have all known the hearing date for months.
Secondly, Tara forged my signature on this organisation’s cheques. She cashed one at Pacific Ezy and the other at Eveni Caruthers using my name and goodwill without my knowledge. Both crimes were the same as that which she committed with the cheques that she took from our chequebook, but fortunately for us we had informed the bank and stopped the cheques so didn’t lose out anything. It appears that Life may have though, as Samoa Commercial Bank has apparently told them that they have paid out on and honoured the cheques even with an invalid signature! Someone steals your cheques, signs with a fully invalid signatory and you have to cough up? OMG, don’t you just love a bank that does that?
There were a couple of interesting side plays in Punaotala’s game-at-life. The first is that for the first time in over half a year, she wanted to shake my hand and “catch-up” whereas previously she simply didn’t want to look at me and avoided all eye contact. Funny that! Maybe looking at a couple of years prison has changed things for her – or maybe she thinks that she can begin another con with us! Who knows?
The second thing is that on the Court list the name of her on/off/on again partner Masetoni Isaako was handwritten beside hers. This to me indicates a last minute change by the court administration, and one has to wonder at the reasons for a simultaneous change of plea today from not guilty to guilty. My guess is that Tara originally plead not-guilty in order to buy time to work her feminine charms on Masetoni and that she has managed to draw him into her crimes and “get” him to confess too. Her signature? She cashed the cheques? He’s somehow drawn into the case at the last minute and confesses? I smell a rat, and knowing how badly she wants to bring down or hurt the Su’a family from what they’ve done to her, I would counsel those involved in producing victim impact statements and sentencing of the pair to ask questions about Masetoni’s real involvement. My guess is that it was pretty much nil, or at least minimal other than helping her spend the money!
Oh what wicked lives we lead, when we do at first deceive. (A knowingly modified version of the original ditty).