Woman sentenced in fraud
A woman who stole more than $150,000 from a sports fundraising organization and her employer, Hawaii Electric Light Co. Inc., was sentenced yesterday to eight months in federal prison.
U.S. District Judge Susan Mollway also ordered that Malva Ideue be placed on five years of supervised release when she gets out, with the first four months under house arrest and electronic monitoring.
Ideue pleaded guilty in March in U.S. District Court to one count of bank fraud under a plea agreement in which she has agreed to repay $105,306 to her former employer.
She also admitted that she violated a position of trust as treasurer of the Waiakea's Booster Club by stealing $47,000.
Assistant Federal Defender Shanlyn Park had asked the court to sentence Ideue to six months in prison followed by six months of home detention.
Park cited numerous letters from members of the Big Island community who know about Ideue's criminal conduct but support her nevertheless, citing her numerous contributions. Many of the letters called her conduct "out of character," particularly for someone who had a history of stable employment, community involvement and enjoyed working for HELCO.
While Ideue had no excuse for taking the money, she was going through a tough time caring for her ailing mother, who lost her insurance and medical coverage. She was also taking care of her children and keeping up with her finances, Park said. "Her financial situation spiraled out of control, and she started to take."
Park said Ideue used the money she stole to pay for her mother's medical care and medication and not to buy luxury cars, jewelry or live a lavish lifestyle.
But Mollway said testimony showed that not all of the money went to medication or doctors.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Loretta Sheehan asked that Ideue be sentenced to the low end of the advisory guideline range of 21-27 months, partly because HELCO is more interested in getting repaid than having her incarcerated.
Ideue said she hopes her former co-workers at HELCO can forgive her. She sold her house on the Big Island and moved her family to Utah, where they are struggling financially but are confident they will survive. She said she has "downsized" her standard of living, and her oldest child is helping put a sibling through college.
"I caused so much hurt and disappointment I wish I can take it back, but I know I can't and I'll spend the rest of my life making up for the people I hurt," Ideue said.
A separate hearing is scheduled for Jan. 9 to determine how much restitution Ideue must pay. Ideue will begin serving her term Jan. 20.