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Young man who pled guilty to stealing a car released on time served — no restitution ordered

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Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A young man from Vaitogi convicted of stealing a vehicle and selling it for $500 was sentenced by the High Court last week to time served. According to court records, Jeremiah Iosefo served 13 months at the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF) while awaiting the outcome of this matter.

Iosefo was originally charged with stealing and fraud, both class C felonies, punishable by imprisonment of up to 7 years, a $5,000 fine 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.

Under a plea agreement with the government, Iosefo pled guilty to stealing. He admits that on Oct. 14, 2020 he stole a vehicle belonging to his father’s friend and sold it to his mechanic friend for $500.

Iosefo was still in custody after he was arrested until last month when he appeared for his Change of Plea hearing, unable to post his $5,000 bond. However, the court granted Sefo’s attorney’s motion to release him on his own recognizance after the court accepted the plea agreement.

When Iosefo appeared in court last week for sentencing, his attorney asked for a probated sentence without any additional period of detention. The government’s attorney did not oppose.

Iosefo apologized to the court for his actions and begged for a second chance to return back home to care for his family and start a new life. He told the court that the 13 months he spend behind bars taughgt him a good lesson — that breaking the law comes with hard consequences.

He told the court that he’s truly remorseful for what he did and he wanted to pay back the money he owes to his father’s best friend.

After a short deliberation, the court sentence Iosefo to time served, which was 13 months. The court did not order any restitution.

According to the court, the Probation Office was unable to locate other parties involved in this case.