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$20,000 bail set for man accused of passing bad checks

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Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man accused of passing bad checks at a local store was arrested last month pursuant to an arrest warrant from the court.

Tui Mavaega made his initial appearance last month. He is charged with two counts of stealing and two counts of passing a bad check, all class C felonies, punishable by imprisonment of up to 7 years, a fine of up to $5,000 or pursuant to A.S.C.A 46.2101, a fine equal to twice the amount of gain from the commission of said crime, up to a maximum of $20,000, or both such fine and imprisonment for each count.

Bail is set at $20,000 and a preliminary examination is next Tuesday.


On Mar. 20, 2021, the owner of a Tafuna company filed a complaint against Mavaega for writing two checks — on two separate occasions — without sufficient funds to cover them.

The government claims that in October of last year, Mavaega took delivery of furniture worth $800 from the victim’s company, after the two parties agreed that Mavaega would pay the balance for the items at a later date, which was $500 after Mavaega paid the victim $300.

Two weeks later, Mavaega wrote a check for $500 and told the owner that he would come later to buy more furniture from his company. On Dec. 10, 2020, Mavaega went to the same store. This time, he asked for items worth $1,400 and again, the victim agreed. Mavaega paid $400 in cash and promised to pay the remaining balance in two weeks time.

Mavaega wrote a $1,000 check for his purchase and asked the victim not to deposit it until he calls because he was waiting on some money to come in. The victim agreed and gave Mavaega a receipt to sign.

One month later, in January of this year, the victim called Mavaega about the two checks he wrote. The victim wanted to deposit the checks but was waiting for the green light from Mavaega, who told the victim to wait until they discussed the matter.

On Jan. 30th, Mavaega went to the victim’s company and apologized to the victim about the two checks and asked him to wait until he got his money from his children off-island.

One month later in February, Mavaega called the victim and told him to deposit the two checks, as there was now money in his bank account to cover them.

The victim did so but in March, when he inquired about his account balance at the bank, he was given a much lower amount than anticipated. So he inquired about the two checks from Mavaega that he had deposited.

A bank teller informed the victim that shortly before he deposited the two checks from Mavaega, funds were withdrawn from Mavaega’s account, but were not posted in the system, which why he was told that there was enough money in Mavaega’s account.

The victim attempted to call Mavaega about the bad checks but Mavaega never answered his phone. The victim reported the matter to police.

Investigators met with Mavaega who expressed frustration that the victim reported the issue, saying it’s a civil matter. He told police that he has done business with the victim for over 20 years and the victim knows him very well.

Mavaega said he would pay back the money he owes to the victim because he’s like a brother to him.