HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Side by side with his attorney, Oahu realtor Scott Kamiya entered Federal Court to admit he embezzled more than a quarter of a million dollars from a family trust.
"He's in a state of depression," attorney Blake Okimoto said. "You have to understand what's happened here and the shame that he has."
The FBI said between 2005 and 2009, Kamiya forged checks and made unauthorized electronic transfers to steal about $280,000 from a trust he worked for as a bookkeeper. The money and credits came from First Hawaiian Bank and Central Pacific Bank. Some of it went to companies he owns called Fulfillment Works and Postage Plus.
"It was clear to us from doing the financial analysis that he was not living large with the money that he was taking. It appears he was using money to fund these businesses that were having cash-flow issues," FBI Special Agent Tom Simon said.
"He's certainly doing what he can to undo what he did," Okimoto said.
But U.S. District Judge Leslie E. Kobayashi was angered by Kamiya's short answers when she pressed him to elaborate on his crime. She scolded Okimoto.
"If he doesn't understand he fraudulently took money from someone else, a lot of money, I'm not persuaded he takes responsibility. His behavior today will affect my sentencing," she said.
"Any attorney would be concerned about that," Okimoto said. "These are issues we're going to have to address."
Besides his job as a realtor, Kamiya, 33, served on the Honolulu Board of Realtors and worked on political campaigns.
"The important thing from the government's perspective is that he came into court today, he admitted to his actions, and he pleaded guilty to this crime," Simon said.
The FBI said Kamiya has repaid about $40,000 to his victims.
He's free on a $50,000 signature bond but he could be jailed for up to 30 years when he's sentenced December 1.