HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Honolulu realtor and businessman was sentenced to prison time today for stealing nearly $285,000 over a five year span. The FBI says it should serve as a warning to small businesses to keep track of their cash flow.
33 year old Scott Kamiya was sentenced to 33 months in prison, then five years supervised release and he has to pay back $243,000 he stole from clients. He already paid $40,000 to the victims.
Inside the courtroom he accepted responsibility and apologized to the victim's family and to his own family. He says he is not happy about what he did and will try to make good. After the sentencing he was far less talkative.
"I'm sorry for what I did and any other statements you can talk with Blake (Okimoto, his attorney)," said Kamiya.
Judge Leslie Kobayashi said his crime wasn't some moment of weakness. There were 107 documented times over five years where he forged checks or altered payees in order to pay for his own failing businesses using premeditated and sophisticated means. It was stated in court Kamiya lied to victims for over a year and it wasn't until the FBI got involved did he begin to fess up.
Judge Kobayashi also expressed disappointment because Kamiya comes from a supportive family, went to private school and never wanted for anything. Yet he still turned to crime and abused and exploited the victims trust. She expressed concern Kamiya did not fully appreciate what he did.
Kamiya's attorney said he stole the money to pay for his failing businesses Postage Plus and Fulfillment Werks.
Judge Kobayashi responded saying it doesn't matter what he spent the money on, it wasn't his. He took it for his own benefit.
Kamiya could have received a 30 year prison sentence. However was given 33 months, which is the top end of the recommended guidelines for prison in this case.
"It was a very difficult sentence. It was a very difficult sentence for the defendant as well as the victims. I think justice had to be done. I believe the judge considered every factor in dealing the sentence," said Blake Okimoto, Kamiya's Attorney.
"From the FBI's perspective we just hope that today's sentencing will provide some closure to the victim's family who not only suffered an economic loss but suffered a loss in the trust they placed in Mr. Kamiya," said Tom Simon, FBI Special Agent. "The FBI also hopes Mr. Kamiya's embezzlement also provides a lesson to small business owners that they need to keep track of their cash flows and if something doesn't seem right the tough questions need to be asked."
One member of the victim's family said the sentence wasn't severe enough considering the pain and problems they've suffered.
Kamiya will have to turn himself into the Federal Correctional Institution in Sheridan Oregon by February 14.