Church manager admits stealing
A former church office manager who stole more than $50,000 from Windward Unity Church and racked up more than $12,000 in debt on credit card accounts she opened in her daughter's name pleaded guilty yesterday to four counts of theft and three of identity theft.
Kimberly Wheeler, 38, also asked a Circuit Court judge to defer accepting her guilty pleas and give her the opportunity to eventually erase them from her criminal record.
"That's unacceptable," said city Deputy Prosecutor Chris Van Marter.
Judge Richard Pollack will decide whether to grant Wheeler's request when he sentences her May 12.
Van Marter said he will oppose Wheeler's request, "and in all likelihood we're going to be asking for prison to impress upon her the seriousness of the charge and to adequately reflect the harm she's caused to the church and to her daughter."
He said Wheeler stole $30,000 from the Kailua church's checking account and charged items to credit accounts she opened in the church's and pastor's names.
The items included a trip to Disneyland for her kids and airline tickets. Van Marter said Wheeler also bought more than $4,000 worth of computers, cameras and other electronic equipment.
The church thefts occurred between February 2005 and February 2006.
She also opened 12 credit card accounts in her daughter's name when her daughter was 12 to 14 years old. The daughter, who is now a college student on the mainland, discovered what her mother had done when she received collection notices on the unpaid credit card balances.