Taxi drivers face court action in separate cases
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 42-year-old man accused of receiving stolen goods has admitted to the allegations against him.
Siaosi Kamuta, a taxi driver who has been in custody since his arrest last year, appeared in court last week for a Change of Plea hearing.
He was initially charged with stealing and first-degree burglary, both felonies. But under a plea agreement with the government — accepted by the court — Kamuta pled guilty to an amended count of receiving stolen property, a class D felony, punishable by up to 5 years in jail, a fine of up to $5,000 or both.
With his guilty plea, Kamuta admits that on Feb. 25, 2018 he accepted two cases of beer and several canned food from Alex Viliamu, knowing that the goods were stolen from a store in Tafuna.
According to terms of the plea agreement, on the night of the incident, Kamuta used his taxi to transport Viliamu and the stolen goods to a Tafuna home.
The government has recommended a probated sentence and restitution of $145.
Kamuta is scheduled for sentencing next month.
The High Court has given a taxi driver 4 months to pay his $1,000 fine in full, or he will be found in contempt of court for failure to comply with conditions of his 2015 probation.
Alfred Leva’a appeared in court last week for a Probation Review hearing.
According to a Probation report, Leva’a is doing well. He has attended alcohol counseling as ordered, and paid full restitution of $305.42
For his $1,000 fine however, he has only paid $139.57
Leva’a’s probation will expire in January of next year.
When asked by the court why he hasn’t paid off his fine, Leva’a said he has a lot of personal obligations, including family fa’alavelaves and bills.
The court reminded Leva’a that the remaining period of his detention was stayed —after he served only 6 months — so he could find a job to pay his fine and restitution.
Leva’a apologized to the court and said he and Probation have agreed that he will make payments of $150 a month.
The court reminded Leva’a that that agreement is not binding with the court. Once the court orders him to pay a fine, he has to comply. Leva’a has 4 months to pay the fine; if not, he will be held in contempt.