Fakaia, the man who fakes his own death to spend 3 years, 8 months in jail
A MAN described as a “dangerous fraudster and con artist” is behind bars today after he was convicted in the Magistrates Court earlier this week.
Peter Fakaia, 48, of Fataleka on Malaita will spend the next three years and eight months in jail after he was found guilty of false pretence charges.
Fakaia netted $76, 000 in three days in September 2019, according to details of the proceedings on the case Number 858 of 2019. The record of the proceedings was released by the Magistrates Court this week.
The charges which Fakaia initially denied included one count of attempt to commit false pretence contrary to section 379 of the Penal Code, the statement said.
Fakaia’s sting began on Saturday 21 September 2019.
The court heard that he went to the People’s Pharmacy on the Kukum Highway around 4pm that day and asked for some medication. He told the pharmacist and proprietor, Emphrem Valekegolomo that he had a swollen penis associated with pain after he had had sex with some “unknown” women.
He was prescribed an antibiotic called Flucloxacillin in 500mg to take four times a day over five days.
On Sunday 22nd September, Fakaia returned and met with the Assistant pharmacist who prescribed the antibiotic drug, Amoxicillin. Fakaia returned that afternoon complaining that Amoxicillin did not work. He was given a new medicine called Promethazine, which comes in 10mg strength.
But Pharmacist Valekegolomo received a telephone call when he walked into the Pharmacy along Kukum Highway early the next morning, he was told the man he had been prescribing medications for had died over the weekend. His body, the caller said, was in the morgue at the National Referral Hospital.
The pharmacist was also told the dead man’s “boys” would be coming to ask for compensation, the court heard.
That morning Mr. Valekegolomo wrote a cheque for $15, 000 and gave it to a Willie Maela, who in turn gave the money to his Uncle, Fakaia, the defendant in the case.
The Court also heard that Fakaia demanded and received via his nephew a further $35, 000, who in turned handed over the money, the court heard.
Shortly thereafter, Mr. Valekegolomo was told two Chiefs from Fataleka had arrived in Honiara and were demanding a further $26, 000 in compensation for Fakaia’s death . The Court heard the money was put in an envelope and again handed over to Maela who in turn handed over the money to his Uncle, Fakaia.
Mr. Valekegolomo became suspicious when he received a phone call from someone in relation to Fakaia’s death. He put the call on the phone’s speaker and he was convinced the voice was Fakaia’s.
Fakaia’s fraudulent run came to an abrupt end on 27th September 2019 when four police officers swooped on Maela who was waiting next to the Pharmacy. He was arrested and later led police to apprehend and charge Fakaia.
But by then Fakaia had fleeced a total $76, 000 in cash in his sting.
Police later recovered $20, 000 from a house at Bemuda Village on Guadalcanal. The court heard the house belonged to Fakaia and his Guadalcanal spouse.
Despite pleading not guilty to all charges, Principal Magistrate Felix Hollison had found Fakaia guilty of all charges.
Mr. Hollison described as a “dangerous fraudster and con-artist” when he convicted Fakaia on 18th March this year. His final decision was handed down on Wednesday 13th April this year.
“In conclusion, the modus operandi demonstrated or used by the defendant in the offending in the present case shows that he is a dangerous fraudster and con-artist and that the offences were intentional.
“Between the span of three days in September 2019, he had fraudulently obtained a total of $76, 000 from the complainant. The defendant displayed no remorse at all and the lack of full restitution aggravated the offending,” Principal Magistrate Hollison said.
“There’s a saying that just must not only be done but must be seen to be done. I hope the sentencing principles and the expectation of the community and society are reflected in the final sentence in this case,” the Principal Magistrate said, urging people who are victims of such crimes to report these to police.
“There is a likelihood that such con-artists will not reimburse monies they obtained fraudulently by the people.
“Having said that, I now sentence the defendant to four years imprisonment for counts 1, 2, and 3 (that is three counts of false pretence contrary to section 308(a) of the Penal Code [Cap26], respectively.
“I also sentence the defendant to one year (12 months) imprisonment for (one) count of attempt to commit false pretence, contrary to section 379 of the Penal Code [Cap 26], read with section 41 of the same Code,” he said.
Fakaia has fourteen (14) days to appeal, the sentence for the four counts which are to be served concurrently giving a total of four (4) years.
By ALFRED SASAKO