Woman sentenced in Arizona Memorial case
A woman who stole more than $170,000 from the Arizona Memorial Museum Association will serve 5 1/2 more months in prison before she will be released on probation.
U.S. District Judge Helen Gillmor sentenced Fe Nakahara yesterday to 18 months behind bars for larceny and for filing a false tax return by not reporting the stolen money as income. She also ordered Nakahara, 44, to pay $174,290 in restitution to the Arizona Memorial Museum Association and its insurer and $46,819 to the Internal Revenue Service.
Nakahara has been in custody since Feb. 1, 2007, and has already served a majority of the prison sentence.
The 18 months is less than the 30 to 37 months included in Nakahara's plea agreement with the government.
Gillmor said she went below the agreed-on sentencing range because Nakahara suffers from a mental illness that affected her behavior. She also cited other physical health problems Nakahara suffers.
During her three years on probation, Nakahara is required to submit herself for mental health examination, treatment and monitoring. She must participate in a mental health program and continue to take medication to treat her illness. And she must participate in individual and marital therapy as prescribed by her doctor.
Before receiving her sentence, Nakahara apologized to the court, the Arizona Memorial Museum Association, her family and friends. And she said she knew what she did was wrong.
"I made a mistake that I will carry for the rest of my life," she said.
The Arizona Memorial Museum Association is a nonprofit organization that operates at the USS Arizona Memorial Visitor Center collecting cash for gift shop sales and headset rentals. Nakahara worked as an accounting and human resources assistant when she stole the money from May to August 2005. Her duties included verifying daily receipts for deposit.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Clare Connors said Nakahara spent the money on herself and her family, including golf clubs for her boyfriend and a birthday party for one of her grandchildren.
According to court documents, Nakahara suffers from schizoaffective disorder, depressive type, and experiences auditory and visual hallucinations.
"She was very suicidal at that time in her life," said Assistant Public Defender Shanlyn Park, Nakahara's lawyer.