Banker sentenced for theft, forgery

By Deidre Tautua-Fanene 22 August 2017, 12:00AM

A young man who worked at a bank as teller has been sentenced to two years under supervision for stealing money from a customer’s account.

Seti Seuseu, 27, was working for the ANZ Bank at Salelologa and Matafele when he forged the signature of a customer, Fa’asala Faletufuga, to steal $1,500 on different occasions.

Seuseu was jailed by Supreme Court Justice Mata Keli Tuatagaloa.

A first time offender, he faced 13 charges of theft as a servant. 

The court heard that the banker had defended his actions when he was first confronted by the Police.

 “You told the Police that the reason why you took this money from the account of this person was because when you tallied up all your cash, it was not balanced,” Justice Tuatagaloa said.

“And that the money that you took from the customer’s account, you put in your cash stuff to make it balance.

“The court does not believe this because according to the summary of facts that was read out by the Registrar, this happened every day.

“Almost every day in the month of October, your tally was always short.”

The court heard that the defendant was well educated. He had attended the National University of Samoa and he was married with a family.

Justice Tuatagaloa noted that the defendant had planned all of this and that it was not a one-day incident, since it began in October 2016 and did not stop until January 2017.

She went on to say that his actions had ruined the reputation of the bank as the people would not trust the bank due to this kind of behavior.

She also said that $1,500 is no small amount and that this was the victim’s personal account.

“This is this person’s sweat,” Justice Tuatagaloa said. “She worked hard for this money and she trusted the bank to ensure that her money is safe.”

Two letters were provided to the court from the defendant’s Bishop as well as the Village Mayor, stating his good character.

“You entered an early guilty plea to the charges which shows that you are remorseful,” Justice Tuatagaloa said.

“You have already apologised to the general manager of the bank and they also confirmed that you have already paid back the money to the victim.

“The prosecution request a term of imprisonment for you, but I am not going to do that.

“I will give you another chance and hopefully, you will learn from this. This is a chance for you to start fresh and make sure you don’t reoffend.

“The court also knows that it will be very difficult for you to find another job and especially the kind of the work that deals with money, but I truly hope that you take this chance seriously and make sure that you use it wisely.”

By Deidre Tautua-Fanene 22 August 2017, 12:00AM
Samoa Observer

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