US: Hawaii Man Used $1.2M in Fake Checks to Try to Post Bail

US: Hawaii Man Used $1.2M in Fake Checks to Try to Post Bail
This undated photo provided by the Hawaii Department of Public Safety shows Samuela Tuikolongahau Jr. U.S. authorities said, Tuikolongahau used counterfeit checks to try to bail out three people from a Hawaii jail. (Hawaii Department of Public Safety via AP)

HONOLULU—A Hawaii man accused of using counterfeit bank checks totaling $1.2 million to try to bail three people out of a jail has been arrested and ordered held without bail, according to court records.

Samuela Tuikolongahau Jr. was detained by federal authorities on Monday. A U.S. Secret Service affidavit filed in court alleged that he presented the bank checks for $760,000, $400,000, and $50,000 in 2020 during the attempt to post bail for the three people held at the Oahu Community Correctional Center.

He left a Honolulu courthouse after being told the checks would need verification, the court document said. Officials determined the checks were counterfeit and the two men and woman he tried to get out of jail were not released.

Court documents did not specify his relationship to the three jailed people.

In August 2020, Tuikolongahau obtained a counterfeit cashier’s check for $36,000 purported to be from a credit union and tried to use it, and someone else’s identification, to purchase a Land Rover from a Honolulu used car lot, the affidavit said.

He also used someone else’s identification to open an account online at Charles Schwab and tried to deposit counterfeit and altered checks into that account, the court document said.

Tuikolongahau appeared in federal court Tuesday for a hearing, where a judge appointed defense attorney Walter Rodby to represent him.

Tuikolongahau consented to be detained without bail as prosecutors requested, according to court records.

Rodby did not immediately return email and phone messages seeking comment.

By Jennifer Sinco Kelleher

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