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Former employee convicted of theft ordered to pay $2,500+ restitution

American Samoa High Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A former employee of HU’s Store in Tafuna convicted of stealing from the company has been ordered to pay $2, 513.04 restitution as a condition of his 5-year probation.

Tavita Aloese, who was out on bond, appeared in court last week for sentencing.

He was initially charged with stealing and embezzlement, both class C felonies, punishable by imprisonment of up to 7 years, a fine of up to $5,000 or both.

But under a plea agreement with the government, accepted by the court last month, Aloese pled guilty to the amended charge of conspiracy to commit stealing, a class D felony, punishable by imprisonment of up to 5 years, a fine of up to $5,000 or both.

Aloese admits that he assisted his co-workers in stealing goods, valued at more than $100 from his former employer, by loading the stolen items on to a truck.

Defense attorney Rob McNeill asked for a probated sentence, saying his client is truly remorseful and he takes full responsibility for his actions. He said Aloese has learned his lesson and wants to move forward with his life. According to McNeill, Aloese is a family man who works very hard to care for his wife and their 5 kids.

In response to the court’s inquiry about Aloese’s immigration status, McNeill said  his client’s ID is valid until next year and Aloese is currently employed by another company that considers him a valuable asset.

Prosecutor Doug Lowe agreed with placing Aloese on probation, under the condition that he pay $2,513.04 restitution.

According to the court, Aloese helped his co-workers by taking stolen goods from the warehouse and loading them on to the back of his truck. Aloese and his co-workers were easily caught on the store’s surveillance camera.

Aloese continuously denied his involvement when police questioned him several times; however, he admitted to the allegations after he was shown footage from the store’s surveillance camera.

Aloese was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment and a fine of $5,000. Execution of sentence is suspended and he is placed on probation for 5 years, subject to several conditions. He has to serve 20 months at the TCF. Execution of detention will commence by order of the court.

Upon release, Aloese has to immediately depart the territory and remain outside of its borders for the duration of probation. This condition is stayed until further order of the court. Aloese is also ordered to pay full restitution and he is not to make any contact with his former co-workers, who are also his co-defendants.

Kruse reminded Aloese that if he wishes to be with his family and children in the territory, he has to comply with all conditions of probation, including the condition that he remain law abiding and pay restitution.