Man from Samoa sentenced for making false statement on US passport application


A Samoan man who pled guilty to making a false statement on a U.S passport application has been sentenced to probation but public online court records do not provide any information as to whether he is subject to deportation back to his home country of Samoa.

Samoa News reported, Vai Salamasina Taula Fetuli aka “Vai Doc Taula”, whom the defence said was born in Samoa and moved to the U.S. at the age of 4, appeared last week Friday before U.S District Court Judge Jill A. Otake of the federal court in Honolulu for sentencing.

The defence sentencing memorandum filed with the federal court revealed that the 66-year-old defendant was in fact born in Samoa and not in the U.S., as Fetuli claimed in his U.S. passport application.

A pre-sentencing report, ordered by the court, recommended 2-year probation while the defence argued that a “sentence of one year of probation with appropriate conditions” is “sufficient, but not greater than necessary” to effectuate the purposes of sentencing.

At yesterday’s sentencing hearing, the court accepted the plea agreement reached last year between prosecutors and the defendant. The court received and reviewed several letters of support submitted on behalf of and from the defendant, according to online court records.

Judge Otake then sentenced Fetuli to two years probation, and no fines or restitution were imposed.

Court documents show that among the “special conditions” of probation is that the defendant complete 150 hours of community service work. And the defendant has been advised of his right to appeal the court’s sentence.

A provision of the plea agreement reached last September, states in part that the defendant has been advised by his counsel and understands that, because the defendant is not a citizen of the United States, the defendant’s conviction in this case “makes it practically inevitable and a virtual certainty that the defendant will be removed or deported” from the U.S.

The defendant may also be denied United States citizenship and admission to the United States in the future, the plea agreement says.