More charges coming inBy Debra Barayuga
Pop Warner case
A man accused of stealing thousands of dollars raised to send two Manoa Pop Warner teams to a Las Vegas bowl game this month allegedly tried to cancel reservations for a team member and his parents, and obtain a refund.
But a travel agent at Creative Holidays refused.
Additional theft charges are expected to be filed shortly against Shane Santos, parent of a Manoa Paniolo Junior Pee Wee player, who allegedly took the money intended for the team's trip to take his own family on a five-day trip to Las Vegas last month.
Yesterday, District Judge Fa'auuga To'oto'o, after a preliminary hearing, found there was enough evidence to try Santos on a second-degree theft charge and sent the case to Circuit Court, where he will be arraigned Dec. 13.
Police are still trying to determine the exact amount taken by Santos, who organized a $10-a-ticket kalua pig fund-raiser and secured cheap airfare through his alleged connections.
Police believe an estimated $8,100 is missing but there is money yet to be accounted for that was to pay for airfare as well as the pigs for the fund-raiser.
Police have recovered just over $26,000 in checks that parents and supporters had made out to Creative Holidays for airfare, Detective Glen Muramoto said yesterday. However, Santos also had parents write checks directly to him.
Santos has told police he only took $5,000.
Santos had told the travel agent that Chloe Fong, team mom for the Midgets division, had canceled the trip and wanted a refund, Muramoto said. But the agency would not give Santos the refund because it's not the way the agency does business.
Creative Holidays could not be reached for comment.
When it was decided in October the teams were going to raise money to send the two teams to Las Vegas to defend their title, Santos told parents he could get a good deal on airfare since he knew travel agent Didi Ah Yo of Creative Holidays very well, Fong testified yesterday.
He requested that the money from the fund-raiser go directly to him since the travel agency wanted to work with only one person.
Santos also said he could get pigs "at cost" because an uncle owned a pig farm in Waianae or Nanakuli, but that they would have to pay him cash. While he wouldn't give the name of the piggery, no one thought to check it out, Fong said. Santos also said the kalua would be packaged and he would deliver the cooked pig to Manoa on Nov. 20 for ticket holders to pick up.
"He said he'd take care of everything," Fong said.
Fong, in charge of collecting kalua pig proceeds raised by the Midgets, said her team sold about 750 tickets. She gave $870 cash collected to Santos on Nov. 16.
He assured her the rest could be turned in to him later that week or on pickup day on Nov. 20 at Manoa Playground. Attempts by her and other parents to reach him later that day and until Nov. 20 were unsuccessful, Fong said.
That's because Santos and his family had left the night of Nov. 17 to fly to Las Vegas, courtesy of the kalua pig money.
At some point, Santos realized he couldn't deliver on his promises by Nov. 20, decided to take the fund-raiser proceeds and spent $1,835 on five plane tickets for himself, his wife and their three children, Muramoto testified.
After his arrest, Santos told Muramoto that "times were hard" and he wanted to take his family on a trip, even if he knew the money was for the kalua pig.