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Samoan woman pleads guilty to wire fraud in California court

U.S. Federal District Court House, Sacramento CA

Sacramento, CA — A Samoan woman, who resides in Corning, California pled guilty last week at the federal court in Sacramento, California to conspiracy to commit wire fraud for her participation in a refund‑fraud scheme, in which her father is a co-defendant who has already been sentenced for his role.

In June 2020, a federal grand jury returned a 14-count superseding indictment against 26-year old Sabrina Toilolo, and her previously charged co-defendant Johnathon Ward, charging them with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.

According to court documents, between July 2017 and September 2019, Sabrina Toilolo, Johnathon Ward, Monica Nunes, and Talalima Toilolo — Sabrina’s father — conspired to defraud financial institutions using a scheme that exploited the merchant refund process used by businesses and retail establishments to refund customers for returns, reimbursements, and erroneous charges.

The defendants committed this scheme by stealing or purchasing point-of-sale (POS) terminals used by businesses to process bankcard transactions.

Court filing shows that Sabrina is scheduled for sentencing on Sept. 23rd and federal prosecutors say she faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

Talalima Toilolo was sentenced on Feb. 11th to 120-months in prison and ordered to pay restitution. (See Samoa News edition Feb. 16th for details.) Nunes was sentenced Apr. 2nd to 12 and half years in prison while charges against Ward are pending.