Laughter's Medicine

A bizarre extortion tale of the South Pacific

Gadget42 Note: Stupid human tricks unabated: are people really this gullible?

by James Walsh, Star Tribune

Why would the federal government fly a U.S. Navy officer, his Samoan wife and her unemployed sister thousands of miles from Hawaii to Minnesota to appear in a small St. Paul courtroom?

Would you believe an alleged extortion plot involving Mexican hit men hired by Wal-Mart, the Samoan mafia, an exotic dancer from Guam, her love child and a fearful farm family from Granite Falls, Minn.?

No, really, that’s the reason.

In what federal court insiders are calling one of the oddest, made-for-TV-type cases they have ever seen, Lt. Cmdr. David Richard Rosetter, his wife Laumatafiafia (Fia) Rosetter and her sister Vatauomalao (Tau) Tafaoa face charges in an alleged extortion plot that cost Rosetter’s parents and sister $185,000.

According to affidavits filed by FBI Special Agent Geoffrey Stankevitz, David Rosetter’s parents and sister essentially lived on the run for nearly a year, terrified by e-mails and phone calls that they were in imminent danger.

But, the FBI says, most — if not all — of the weird and sordid tale was made up.

David and Fia Rosetter and Tau Tafaoa were indicted in April but details of their case only became public Wednesday. They have pleaded not guilty. David’s mother, Joan Rosetter, declined to comment Wednesday about the case.

While the affidavits finger Fia Rosetter and Tau Taufaoa as the masterminds of the plot, a federal grand jury also blamed David Rosetter, a 17-year naval veteran who led the Military Sealift Command Office at Pearl Harbor until the Navy reassigned him to administrative duties because of this case.

All three are charged with nine counts of extortion — carried out from January through June 2007. But, according to FBI affidavits and court testimony Tuesday, the deceit began years earlier.

A broken foot

In January 2005, Richard and Joan Rosetter, a farm couple from Granite Falls, visited San Diego, where their son, David, was stationed with his wife, Fia. While there, they met Fia’s sister Tau, who was living with David and Fia Rosetter.

During that time the parents were told that employees of Wal-Mart were conducting surveillance on the family. Why? Because Wal-Mart didn’t want to pay a worker’s compensation claim to Tau, a former Wal-Mart employee who had broken her foot falling off a ladder.

The story would become more sensational nine months later, according to the FBI.

In September 2005, Luann Rosetter received a telephone call from her brother. David told her that Wal-Mart employees wanted to kill him for helping Tau take Wal-Mart to court over her worker’s compensation claim. Tau would be on disability for the rest of her life, he said, and Wal-Mart would rather kill her than pay the claim.

Luann should “watch her back,” her brother warned, because she also was in danger.

Click here to read the rest of this bizarre tale.

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1 Comment

Faitatala Lotoleaga

Wow! A badly written article from a Midwest paper who practices “dirty journalism”! Freedom of the press give any Tom, Dick & Harry the right to publish biased stories about people they don’t even know!! Go figure!! Amazingly, every paper in the US & internationally has their own “version” of this case. The original article by James Walsh looked as if he ONLY cut & paste from the so-called FBI findings. He needs to go back to refresh his journalism skills!! Then, an FBI agent as your source huh? The credibility of the article is questionable! The Star Tribune will stop at nothing to sell papers!!

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