Wife of Hawaiian Non-Profit Executive Pleads Guilty Conspiring to Embezzle from AmeriCorps
WASHINGTON – Angelita Aipoalani, 42, of Waianae, Hawaii, pled guilty on April 1, 2021 in federal court to conspiring with her husband, Hanalei Aipoalani, to embezzle $69,000 from AmeriCorps and to fraudulently obtain more than $11,000 in AmeriCorps education grants.
The announcement was made by Acting U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips, Deborah Jeffrey, Inspector General of AmeriCorps, and Eli S. Miranda Special Agent in Charge, FBI Honolulu Field Office.
Angelita Aipoalani pled guilty to conspiracy to embezzle from AmeriCorps. That charge carries a statutory maximum of five years and financial penalties. Under the federal sentencing guidelines, Angelita Aipoalani faces a likely recommended sentence of between six and 12 months in prison. The Honorable Reggie B. Walton took the plea and scheduled sentencing for June 24, 2021.
Hanalei Aipoalani previously pled guilty on March 26, 2021 to embezzlement from AmeriCorps and agreeing to take a bribe relating to CARES Act funds. Both charges carry a statutory maximum of ten years and financial penalties. Under the federal sentencing guidelines, Aipoalani faces a likely recommended sentence of between 70 and 87 months in prison. Hanalei Aipoalani’s sentencing is set for June 24, 2021.
AmeriCorps is a federally funded network of national service programs that address critical community needs like increasing academic achievement, mentoring youth, fighting poverty, sustaining national parks, preparing for disasters, and more. AmeriCorps’ national service members commit to service for a set period of time, usually a year, in exchange for a living allowance, funding to be used for college tuition, and other benefits.
As part of her plea, Angelita Aipoalani admitted to fraudulently enrolling as an AmeriCorps member for multiple years, even though she did not perform the required AmeriCorps service activities. Angelita Aipoalani also admitted to conspiring with Hanalei Aipoalani to fraudulently obtain AmeriCorps education awards for herself even though she had not performed the required AmeriCorps service.
The Inspector General for AmeriCorps, the FBI, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office are committed to investigating and prosecuting individuals who defraud the AmeriCorps program. If you are aware of fraud, waste, or abuse affecting AmeriCorps or any of its programs, contact the AmeriCorps Office of Inspector General Hotline at 1-800-452-8210 or hotline@AmeriCorpsOIG.gov.
In announcing the plea, Acting U.S. Attorney Phillips, Inspector General Jeffrey, and Special Agent in Charge Miranda commended the work of those who investigated the case from the Inspector General for AmeriCorps and the FBI’s Honolulu Field office. They also acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia including Assistant U.S. Attorneys Leslie A. Goemaat and Peter Lallas of the Fraud Section, Amanda Vaughn of the Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section, former Assistant U.S. Attorney Bianca Forde and Paralegal Specialists Mariela Andrade, Stephanie Frijas, and Joseph McClanahan.