Ex-charity worker gets 30-year term for fraud
A Circuit Court judge told a former Salvation Army employee who defrauded some elderly donors of about $300,000 that he is likely to repeat the crimes if given the opportunity.
Timothy Peter Janusz, 49, was sentenced yesterday to 30 years on charges of 12 felony counts of first-degree theft, money laundering, racketeering and forgery. He pleaded guilty in September and accepted responsibility for defrauding about $300,000 in cash and real property from four donors between ages 72 and 87 and more than $10,000 from the nonprofit organization in fraudulent mileage expenses.
"I'm hoping that the sentence imposed will deter you from doing things like this in the future," Circuit Judge Steve Alm told Janusz. "And hopefully you've ripped off your last senior citizen."
Before his sentence, Janusz made a tearful apology for his actions and said he was going through personal issues involving his wife when he committed the crimes. He said he turned to alcohol to deal with his problems.
Janusz asked Alm to give him another chance to make amends for the people he hurt: the victims, his family and the nonprofit organization.
"I'm asking you to have mercy," Janusz said.
But Alm said Janusz betrayed the trust of the victims and the organization. "This is very serious because you are targeting folks that are our most vulnerable. And it's done not in an impulsive way. ... This was planned, this was deliberate," he said.
Deputy Prosecutor Chris Van Marter said Janusz has a history of victimizing seniors. He was convicted in 1996 for wire fraud after he stole $2.2 million from an elderly Colorado couple. He was sentenced to five years in prison. Still, it did not deter him from preying on seniors in Hawaii, Van Marter said.
"These were schemes that were very well thought out," he added.
Janusz, the father of six, was hired as the organization's director for planned giving in July 2003. He was fired in April 2006 after the organization received an anonymous e-mail that Janusz was stealing from the Salvation Army and defrauding elderly donors.
In arguing for leniency, Deputy Public Defender Craig Nagamine said Janusz accepted responsibility for his crimes and wanted to spare the court trial expenses and the hardship on the victims for having to testify before the court. "He's trying to make his way back. He's trying to redeem himself," Nagamine said.
Janusz' son and daughter, Jamison Janusz and Jessica Janusz Hardway, were in the courtroom gallery during the sentencing. Before Alm, Jamison Janusz said, "He did make some very wrong decisions, and all the decisions were basically not for himself. He was making it for his family."
Maj. Dave Hudson, divisional commander of the Salvation Army in Hawaii, said they are in full support of Alm's decision.
Since Janusz was fired, Hudson said, the organization has expanded its criminal background checks to all employees who deal with the public. The Salvation Army had already conducted background checks on employees who deal with children. Hudson said the case "reinforces the fact that we have to do everything we can to ensure that something like this never happens again."
Janusz is to be transferred to South Dakota under federal custody shortly to face a federal escape charge. He escaped prison following his sentence involving the Colorado couple. Janusz also faces additional prison time for that charge.