Woman who stole city parking garage profits ordered to pay $419K

Myles Breiner
Myles Breiner
Judge Randal Lee
Judge Randal Lee
Gale Bracey
Gale Bracey

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - An Oahu judge on Tuesday rejected a deferral request from a woman who stole an estimated $15,000 per month while working as the manager of two Downtown Honolulu parking garages that had contracts with the city.

Gale Bracey wept as her motion was denied. A deferral would have given her an opportunity to keep her criminal record clean.

Luxury cars. Expensive jewelry. Prosecutors say Gale Bracey was living large at the city's expense.

"I'd just like to apologize for my actions and be given a chance to pay it back," the convicted thief said at her sentencing.

The defendant earlier pleaded guilty to four counts of first-degree theft and two counts of money laundering. On Tuesday, she asked for a deferral -- a chance to keep the crime off her record.

"Without the deferral, she can't work," Myles Breiner, defense attorney, said. "It's unlikely with this type of charge that she'll ever be able to hold a position of responsibility that will generate the kind of money which is needed to compensate the victims in this case."

Bracey managed the city's Hale Pauahi and Kukui Plaza garages in Downtown Honolulu. Prosecutors say the city and the two companies she worked for -- Standard Parking and Republic Parking -- suffered losses totaling $419,238.51.

Prosecutors opposed the deferral.

"Part of this is because of the public pressure on the prosecutor's office and concern that somehow or other Ms. Bracey is not being sufficiently punished," Breiner said. "Well, that's not the case."

Bracey was ultimately fired.

But in her criminal case, prosecutors had to offer her a deal that included no jail time, saying city officials knew about the allegations in October 2006, "Yet, inexplicably, the City did nothing to remove Defendant Bracey, and indeed, she continued to manage Hale Pauahi for an additional seven months."

Prosecutors also say the police investigation determined that "the City failed to establish adequate internal controls to prevent the theft in this case" and "failed to properly monitor the collection of revenues."

The judge denied the deferral motion, saying the amount of money she stole requires that she at least suffer the penalty of a conviction.

"Ms. Bracey, you got really a benefit," Randal Lee, Circuit judge, said. "There was a high degree of likelihood you would have received some jail."

The judge sentenced her to five years probation and ordered her to pay the money back at a rate of $200 a month.

"She acknowledges that she was responsible for breaching her position of trust," Breiner said.

At a rate of $200 a month, it would take Bracey 174 years to pay the money back. A hearing to further discuss the restitution is set for October 5th.

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