NATION

Fijian Travel Agent Guilty Of 39 Charges

A Fijian travel agent, who had operated her business in Tonga, will be sentenced there next month for forgery, FBC News reported Sear Polata pleaded guilty to 39 charges of
15 Feb 2015 09:43
Fijian Travel Agent Guilty Of 39 Charges

A Fijian travel agent, who had operated her business in Tonga, will be sentenced there next month for forgery, FBC News reported

Sear Polata pleaded guilty to 39 charges of forgery and intentionally dealing with forged documents for visa applications.

Polata, who is married to a Tongan, is being remanded in custody until her sentencing on March 6.

Polata changed her plea to guilty from her initial not guilty plea when the trial started two weeks ago.

She had initially faced 47 counts of forgery and intentionally dealing with forged documents when she appeared before Justice Charles Cato on January 26.

Tonga Daily News reported she changed her plea this week.

She was found guilty of 29 counts of forgeries and 10 counts of dealing with forged documents.

Solicitor General Sione Sisifa withdrew the remaining eight counts due to insufficient evidence.

Sera committed the offences between October 2013 and April 2014, when she operated her Friendly Island Travel business in Tokomololo.

The court heard that she altered Westpac Bank of Tonga bank statements and reference letters of customers, by forging signatures and names.

The scam came to the light early last year when some of the companies in Tonga and government departments received enquiries from the United States Embassy and Australian Immigration Department requesting verification of reference letters that were supposedly given by them.

Reports were made to Tonga Police when it was confirmed that the letters had been forged and documents altered by the travel agent.

Polata had previously operated her travel agent in Ma’ufanga where she had also tricked some locals.

She was one of the travel agents who worked with locals who were part of the Seasonal Work Scheme in Australia and New Zealand.

Feedback:  newsroom@fijisun.com.fj

 




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