TAS cases, imprisonment are imposed for deterrence

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A former employee of the ANZ bank, Amanda Mulitalo was recently sentenced for theft as a servant to serve one month in jail. 

Sentencing was handed down by Supreme Court Justice, Fepulea’i Amperosa Roma. The defendant appeared in court on six counts of theft as a servant which attracts a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment for each charge, in which she pleaded guilty to all the criminal charges in May this year. 

According to the judgement and sentencing of the court, the defendant worked as a teller in 2019 and at the time of offending, she worked in the customer service and call centre and was responsible for processing various bank cards. 

In September 2021 without authority, the defendant processed an instant debit visa card for a person named Anina who resides permanently overseas and withdrew money on several occasions between $100 to $250 amounting to $1,000. 

The owner of the account contacted the bank when she was blocked from accessing it online and denied withdrawing the funding and an investigation was launched led to the charges against Mulipola. 

“In the pre-sentence report you admit the offending and say that you had been under financial pressure to care for your mother and meet your family obligations as your husband had gone overseas on seasonal work,” stated Justice Roma. 

The bank confirmed an apology was rendered and the money stolen has been paid back in full.

“The general practice in sentencing theft as servant cases is that deterrent terms of imprisonment are imposed except in exceptional circumstances. The main reason is that such cases involve a breach of trust. I have carefully considered your case. 

“I have also considered the sentencing authorities cited by the prosecution. I find that no exceptional circumstances exist to warrant a departure from the general sentencing practice of the Court.

“The fact there were multiple instances of your offending which would have likely continued had they not been detected early is significant.”

On all six charges of theft as a servant, the defendant was sentenced to serve one month at the Tanumalala prison.