Pregnant woman convicted of TAS and Forgery sentenced to jail


The former manager of Seabreeze Resort has been sentenced to 13 months in jail for 11 counts of theft as a servant and 4 charges of forgery. This pertains to the $2,839 that Taofegauia’i Polaia of Vavau & Malaemalu misappropriated as Manager when the owners were overseas for medical treatments. Sentencing was recently handed down by Supreme Court Justice Niaava Mata Keli Tuatagaloa. 

The sentencing, however, has been deferred until 25 October to allow the woman to give birth. 

Justice Tuatagaloa noted that, in summary, the defendant was an employee of the Seabreeze Resort. In December 2019, the owners of the Resort went to Australia for medical purposes until 21 September 2021, when borders re-opened. 

The owners of the Resort only kept about 10 paid staff, including the defendant, for daily maintenance of the Resort solely managed by the defendant since 14 August 2020.

The offending did not occur once but multiple times between 23 March 2020 and 16 July 2021, in which Prosecution drew the inference that the offending was pre-meditated.

The offending of forgery corresponds with four offenses of theft as a servant. It is committed always with an ulterior motive, which is usually of a criminal nature. In the present case, the defendant committed forgery to facilitate the thefts. Inherent in the offending of forgery is the element of deceit.

Deceit implies planning or premeditation on the part of the defendant. Her Honors found the defendant’s offending to be both pre-meditated and opportunistic in that the defendant had plenty of opportunity to carry out the offending as often as she wanted, for she was in complete control of the management of the Resort and access to the working account.

The defendant is convicted and sentenced as follows:

(i) Theft as a Servant (x11) – 13 months’ imprisonment for each count;

(ii) Forgery (x4) – 13 months’ imprisonment for each count;

(iii) All are sentences are to be served concurrently, less any time in custody.

The start date of the sentence is deferred for three (3) months to 25 October 2023. The defendant must turn herself into the Prisons Authority on that day by 12 noon; failing that, the Police will attend to her home and take her to prison.

The defendant will be entitled to apply for parole when she has served half of her sentence.