Samoan woman defrauds employers, flies family and friends to Samoa for wedding

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THAT WEDDING: Christine Tupu and Hekeai Piutau during their Samoan wedding.

THAT WEDDING: Christine Tupu and Hekeai Piutau during their Samoan wedding. (Photo: File)

A Samoan woman flew 31 of her friends and relatives for an extravagant wedding in Samoa, paid for by monies she siphoned from two of her former employees.

Christine Tupu, 26, pleaded guilty last year to stealing A$341,000 ($647,000) from her employers Electrolux and Toll, by telling people the bank account details for payment had changed and giving them her and her husband’s personal account details.

Tupu, who has been jailed for five years, married a Tongan, Hekeai Piutau, in Samoa. With roots in Saipipi and Si’uniu Falealili, the wedding in November 2016 was held at St. Therese, Leauva’a. 

According to 9 News, the money she stole was splashed on a luxurious and extravagant lifestyle including flights to her Samoan wedding for her family.

The cash is now long gone - spent on hotels, cruises, furniture and international flights, 9 News further reports.

She also created fake invoices and helped herself to a microwave, vacuum cleaners, fridges and air conditioners which she had delivered to her in-laws’ residence but never paid for.

Her lawyer claimed she had an “addiction to gambling” but the judge slammed her actions as “pure greed”.

Tupu was yesterday sentenced to five years and six months in jail but could be paroled as early as March next year.

In court she was surrounded by a large group of family and friends, some of whom had flown in from overseas to support Tupu.

Her husband Hekeai Piutau has been cleared of any involvement in the sophisticated scamming.

Outside Court, Mr Piutau told reporters "what's done is done".

"There's nothing we can change about it, the decision's been made," he said.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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