Saaga Samoa



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Saaga allegedly used the funds to finance his personal lifestyle, which included gambling in Las Vegas, Nevada, international travel to Samoa, a trip to Disneyland, and numerous other expenses unrelated to the terms of the contract

A Samoan living in the United States of America, Calliope Rocky Saaga, has been charged with theft of more than $800,000 from a school saving money to travel to Hawaii.

Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced yesterday that the travel agent was indicted by a federal grand jury for stealing US$360,000.

The money is from the Willard High School Band Boosters, which forced the cancellation of a trip to Hawaii for more than 300 students and chaperones.

Saaga, also known as “Ope,” 39, of Saratoga Springs, Utah, was charged in a 15-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Springfield, Missouri.

According to the indictment, Saaga, doing business as Present America Tours L.L.C. contracted with the Willard High School Band Boosters in January 2011 to provide travel arrangements for a June 2012 band trip to Hawaii.

Saaga was responsible for booking airfares, lodging, transportation, meals, tours, and travel insurance for over 300 students and chaperones.

The Willard High School Band Boosters wired 12 payments of US$30,000 each to Saaga between February 2011 and January 2012.

Instead, as he received wire transfers from the band boosters, Saaga allegedly used the funds to finance his personal lifestyle, which included gambling in Las Vegas, Nevada, international travel to Samoa, a trip to Disneyland, and numerous other expenses unrelated to the terms of the contract.

As a result of Saaga’s diversion of funds, the indictment says, the Willard High School band trip was cancelled and the Willard High School Band Boosters suffered a loss of US$360,000.

While he was spending the money of the Willard High School Band Boosters to finance his personal lifestyle, the indictment says, Saaga transmitted e-mails to the Willard High School director of bands, which lulled the band boosters into believing that their trip to Hawaii was on schedule.

The indictment also contains a forfeiture allegation, which would require Saaga to forfeit to the government any property derived from the proceeds of the alleged offense, including a US$400,000 money judgment.

Dickinson cautioned that the charges contained in this indictment are simply accusations and not evidence of guilt.

Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.

It was investigated by I.R.S.-Criminal Investigation, the F.B.I. and the Willard, Missouri Police Department.




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