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Businessman convicted of theft — only fined, no jail time

Apia, SAMOA — Businessman Patrick Boon convicted of two counts of theft in connection with building materials removed from the premises of Bluebird Lumber and Hardware was fined by Supreme Court Justice Lesatele Rapi Vaai earlier this month.

According to the police summary of facts, three employees of Bluebird Lumber and Hardware unlawfully took the building materials from the company.

“The truck and driver was provided by the defendant to remove the buildings materials and deliver them to the home of the defendant. Payment for the materials was pre-arranged between the defendant and one of the employees who then distributed the cash amongst the other employees who assisted in the theft. For the first load of stolen materials, the employees of Bluebird Lumber shared the $3,000 given by the defendant.

“The value of the stolen materials was estimated at $7,000. As for the second load of stolen materials, the value of the materials was estimated at $3,000. The defendant gave the other thieves $1,500 as their share to be distributed. The defendant benefited the most from the thefts which he perpetrated,” the summary says.

The Supreme Court Justice noted that the employees of Bluebird Lumber admitted their involvement and received an imprisonment sentence. For the defendant’s involvement the prosecution is seeking a custodial sentence of at least two years imprisonment. Vaai further noted that Boon remains adamant of his innocence of the charges when the Probation Service for the pre-sentence report interviewed him.

“The insistence by the defendant as to his innocence despite the uncontested evidence, credible evidence, is a demonstration of a lack of remorse on his part.” Justice Vaai said during sentencing. “This was clearly a premeditated offense, an offense of dishonesty and a very prevalent offense. The employees of Bluebird Lumber were in a position of trust and their offending was considered more serious. That is a distinguishing aggravating feature, which must have weighed in the mind of Justice Nelson when he imposed a custodial sentence on the employees of Bluebird Lumber.

“One other important feature is that neither of the employees of Bluebird Lumber was able to pay compensation,” he said. Vaai noted that Boon has already paid close to $10,000 in restitution. “Although a custodial sentence as imposed on the other defendants will not be the appropriate one, the penalty must reflect the serious nature of the offending and to act as deterrence.”

Boon was ordered to pay a fine of $2,000 and in addition he’s to also pay $1,000 for prosecution costs.