HILO, BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Big Island woman pleaded no contest to stealing nearly $100,000 from a Pop Warner football league. Greta "Pua" Correa's plea deal involves restitution and probation, but some players' families are disappointed with the punishment.
The missing money jeopardized the Panaewa Alii football team's trip to the Pop Warner Super Bowl in 2013. Families that scrambled to raise funds to send the players to Florida are upset.
"To us, it's a slap in the face that she doesn't even admit to it. She can't even come forth to the children and say that she did take the money," said Kaohinani Miyashiro, the mother of a former player.
Correa, 55, used to be the treasurer for the Big Island Pop Warner Football Conference. She allegedly embezzled the funds between 2009 and 2012. Under the plea deal, she will be under supervision for 10 years and must repay the league $98,100.
"Non-profits, because they're non-profits, sometimes don't keep all the records that a prosecutor might like to see," explained deputy prosecutor Rick Damerville. "That's one of the reasons for the delay in this case because it makes ascertaining the exact dollar amount extremely difficult."
If the judge grants Correa's request for a deferral, her record will eventually be wiped clean as long as she fulfills the agreement.
"She has no prior offenses," said Damerville. "It seems to me to be fair if she makes all of the restitution that she is required by law to make."
"I would like to have her spend some time in jail, even writing an apology," said Miyashiro.
League officials said Correa forged the signature of the former league president, Charles Nahale, on checks. They've now started putting out detailed financial reports with bank statements. Prosecutors dropped the identity theft charge as part of the deal.
"There was a lot of mistrust amongst the association, their staff, participants, families, also lots of local community businesses and donors. It's taking quite a lot of hard work to rebuild the integrity of the league," said Brenda Kuamoo, the current secretary-treasurer of the league.
Correa will be sentenced in Kona Circuit Court on July 21.