1 May 2012

Samoan man at centre of possible American criminal investigation

1:05 pm on 1 May 2012

A Samoan man and his Hawaii-based travel company, Performing Hawaii Tours, is at the centre of a possible investigation by American state and federal law enforcement officials for allegedly accepting more than half a million dollars without providing the services for which he was paid.

US news media reported over the weekend that Southside High School Rebel Band in Arkansas cancelled its trip to Hawaii after wiring more than $250,000 to Calliope Saaga, who didn't provide travel arrangements.

In Missouri, the Willard High School Band wired about $360,000 to the same travel agent.

Both bands were scheduled to travel in June to Hawaii and have now cancelled their trips after not being able to locate Mr Saaga, who two weeks ago finally informed one of the high schools that he made some bad decisions with the money.

Mr Saaga says he is now in the midst of trying to sell every asset he has in Samoa to pay the group back.

The two high schools have already alerted both state and federal officials about the case.

The Arkansas Attorney General's office says a parent has filed a consumer complaint.