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PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (Samoa News, May 10) - Three out of
the seven local residents charged in the AFLAC medical insurance fraud case, who
appeared in federal court in Honolulu yesterday for detentions hearings, have
been released according to a U.S. prosecutor.

The other four were remanded back into federal custody and
remain at the federal detention center in Honolulu.

The eighth defendant, Kilepoa Tuitama, during his detention
hearing on Wednesday, was also remanded back into federal custody and he will be
allowed to appeal the decision with the U.S. District of Middle of Georgia,
where the charges were originally filed against all of the defendants.

After yesterday's hearing, lead U.S. prosecutor in the case,
William T. Clabault, told Samoa News in a telephone interview from Honolulu that
only three of the defendants were released on signature bonds.

However, the rest consented to remain in federal custody, he

The defendants in custody are Tausiga Toluali'i Ofoia, Ateliana
Te'o, Iosefo Filipo Toilolo, and Irata Finauga, according to Clabault.

Those released with certain conditions, according to Clabault,
are: Dr. Ivan Tuliau, Anevili Semeatu, and Tagi'ilima Shimasaki Fruean.

The federal government had opposed the release of all defendants
saying they are flight risks.

FBI special agent William Denson supporting the prosecutors'
opposition submitted a declaration that outlines allegations against the
territorial government claiming ASG questions federal jurisdiction over American
Samoa and ASG's delayed efforts in prosecuting the case locally.

No dates have yet been set for the next court appearances for
all of the defendants in the case, which is not only being reported here but in
Hawaii and Georgia.

All defendants who do not enter into plea agreements with the
federal government must agree to have the case transferred from Georgia to
Hawaii in order for it to be heard at the federal court in Honolulu.

The defendants are being charged with defrauding the Columbus,
Georgia-based American Family Life Assurance Company (AFLAC) out of $280,000.

A Georgia federal grand jury indicted this year on Feb. 28,
Ofoia, Te'o, Fruean, Semeatu, Tuitama and Dr. Tuliau on 25 counts of conspiracy
and mail fraud to get $200,000 from AFLAC under the first indictment.

US attorneys contend Ofoia and Te'o used their positions as
hospital record clerks to alter hospital records and to submit false insurance
claims in the names of seven defendants.

The second indictment charges Finauga with defrauding AFLAC of

Prosecutors allege that she used her position as an employee of
an insurance brokerage firm to intercept legitimate insurance claims and alter
them with her own name or the names of her family.

More details of yesterday's hearing will be reported in Monday's
edition of Samoa News.

May 15, 2003

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