Wednesday, May 16, 2001

Pop Warner defendant
gets probation

Shane Santos pleaded
no contest to charges

By Helen Altonn

A man convicted of stealing money raised by the Manoa Pop Warner and spending it on a trip to Las Vegas with his family was sentenced today by Circuit Judge Wilfred Watanabe to five years of probation and 500 hours of community service.

Watanabe gave Shane Santos, 30, credit for 145 days he has already spent in jail.

The state had asked that Santos, father of one of the Pop Warner football players, be sentenced to 10 years in prison as a multiple offender.

"The defendant shouldn't get away with a free trip to Las Vegas," said Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Alfred Brunn Jr.

Debra Loy, deputy public defender, said Santos has already been punished for his actions. He spent 145 days in jail, was embarassed and "villified by the community, involved parents, the media and everyone on the island," she said.

Santos pleaded no contest in April 2000 to four counts of second-degree theft, second-degree attempted theft and third degree theft for taking $8,000 in kalua pig sales. He was collecting the money to pay for kalua pigs and cook and package them to raise money to send the Paniolos to a bowl game in Las Vegas in December 1999.

He also pleaded no contest to a separate charge of second-degree theft for stealing another $2,250 intended for travel expenses.

Santos today offered a "formal apology to the state of Hawaii and the community of Manoa. I am very sorry for what I've done and I promise never to do it for the rest of my life."

Brunn said Santos was placed in a position of trust in the community and broke that trust, taking about $5,000 of the Pop Warner funds to Las Vegas. Santos said he didn't gamble but Brunn said he didn't see how Santos could have spent so much money without gambling.

He at least should be sentenced to probation with one year in jail to take responsibility, as well as 500 hours of community service, Brunn said.

Loy said Santos' action wasn't premeditated but when he didn't get money from supporters to pay for the pigs, he couldn't face the failure. "The person hurt the most was his son," and he took his family to las Vegas "to make up for the guilt he felt," she said.

She said he was praised as an exceptional employee in jail, attended education classes and has the will to change and care for his family. He went to culinary school and wants to move forward, she said.

The state sought restitution to be paid to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund.

But Loy said Santos can't afford to pay restitution and there is no way of determining what it would be since public donations supported the team's trip to Las Vegas.

She said community service "is the only way to show the community he's sorry."

Star-Bulletin reporter Debra Barayuga
contributed to this story.

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