A 33-year-old Romanian man has been arrested for allegedly scheming money from one of the local banks.
The arrest was confirmed by the Police Commissioner, Fuiavailili Egon Keil, yesterday. The man’s name is withheld.
“He has been charged already and he is in custody until his first mention at the District Court on 4th July,” Fuiava said.
“As you remember we had a similar incident where we arrested two Chinese nationals and they have been convicted and will be sentenced soon.”
The Commissioner added these incidents are growing in the Pacific and warned members of the public to be alert about their account details.
“I want to advise all the customers out there in the banking industry to please check your bank accounts to make sure that there’s no illegal or unauthorized A.T.M. money that was taken out of your account,” he said.
“I won’t say which bank it is but I will just say generally to check your A.T.M. cards and A.T.M. transactions to ensure that those A.T.M. transactions are yours.
“If is not then please report the matter to your banking industry and institution and also bring it to the attention of law enforcement so we can stop this transnational crime.
“It’s not just happening in Samoa but all over the region. Again this is a Romanian national that came in to Samoa and did the A.T.M. Scheming here. He was caught and he’s going to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”
The Commissioner could not disclose details about the transactions.
“Right now I’m not at liberty to say how many transactions or how much money was taken but the mere fact that we’ve been very proactive in this arena in stopping transnational crime from occurring not only in our country but throughout the region.
“The P.T.C.N. which is housed in Samoa, we track and we coordinate and communicate with our partners all over the region like Tonga, Vanuatu, Fiji, New Zealand and Australia to stop transnational crimes from occurring.
“This is exactly what’s happening right now and it is through the hard work of the women and men in blue in the T.C.U. that’s bringing these criminals into justice. They are stopping them from victimizing not only the people from the Pacific, especially here in Samoa, and we will continue to do the best we can to keep our nation safe and sound.”
The Commissioner acknowledged the help of the public and the bank.
“We want to thank the public and also the banking industry for their cooperation and assistant to this matter in arresting and bringing these individuals into justice,” said Fuiavailili.
“We’ve been working very intelligently with the Pacific Transnational Crimes Network (P.T.C.N) to stop these kinds of crimes transnational crime coming into to Samoa.
“According to the law enforcement most of the crimes are reported by the public. So without the public’s help and assistance not only in reporting it and also helping us with the prosecution.
“We will make sure that we will stop these crimes and stop these people from victimising everyone.
“I also want to send a message out there to those folks who want to come in Samoa and commit these types of crimes here that Samoa police will not tolerate these kinds of transnational crimes. We will find out and we will prosecute them.
“We are not doing it alone but we are working together with Attorney General whose going to be doing all the prosecution in Samoa now.”
Getting back to the Romanian national, Fuiava said: “Well usually this is a ring that is occurs in the region and it’s not just one individual, it’s organized crime. Essentially that’s what it is.
“It travels in different island and victimizes people from different islands.
“This is not the only crime that is transnational but it is a trend that’s happening in the Pacific.
“We are working together with other Pacific islands to bring this crime to a halt.”