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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Hawaii

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, February 17, 2017

Bookkeeper Pleads Guilty To 13 Counts Of Wire Fraud In Scheme To Defraud Two Maui Business Owners

 

HONOLULU – A professional bookkeeper has plead guilty to 13 counts of wire fraud in a scheme to defraud two local Maui business owners. Felicidad Rivera, age 51, of Maui, plead guilty in the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii to wire fraud in connection with a scheme to defraud two Maui business operators of more than $373,682 in funds from their business banking accounts. Rivera faces a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000 for each of the 13 counts to which she plead guilty when she is sentenced on June 5, 2017.

Florence T. Nakakuni, United States Attorney for the District of Hawaii, said that according to court documents and information presented in court, Rivera became the bookkeeper for two Maui businesses operated by a mother and her son. As their bookkeeper, Rivera had access to the bank accounts of each business. After earning the confidence of the business owners, Rivera would falsely represent to them that business funds were required to pay legitimate business expenses. In truth, the funds were not required for business expenses but were intended by Rivera to be deposited into her personal checking account and fraudulently converted to her own use. From December 2008 through August 2015, Rivera fraudulently, and without authorization, wrote 193 checks to herself totaling approximately $334,450. Rivera also caused the victim’s business accounts to pay her personal monthly credit card debts. Information presented in Court showed that over the course of 87 monthly transactions Rivera stole another $75,488 from the victim’s bank accounts without their knowledge or consent. To conceal her activity Rivera falsified the accounting books of each business and presented fraudulently altered business financial records to the tax accountant preparing the taxes for the victims.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ken Sorenson.

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Updated February 21, 2017