3 Apr 2012

Jail sentence for American Samoa legal services director

6:52 pm on 3 April 2012

The former acting director of American Samoa's U'unai Legal Services, which had been offering free legal services, has been jailed for five months for his role in the theft of nearly 160,000 US dollars of federal grant funds.

David Wagner was also ordered to serve five months of home detention and three years of supervised release.

In addition he is to pay 31,000 US dollars in restitution, together with Julie and Andrea Matau, who have also been convicted and sentenced as part of the investigation.

Wagner admitted that he signed blank checks belonging to U'unai for Julie Matau's use in exchange for unlawful payments that she provided to him.

The non-profit organisation eventually closed after the federal government froze all funding for the group.