Prosecutors outraged by former DMV worker's theft sentence

Chris Van Marter
Chris Van Marter
William Jameson
William Jameson
Brian Hamasaki
Brian Hamasaki

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - He essentially stole from all Oahu residents when he pocketed tens of thousands of dollars that should have gone to the city. Now, prosecutors say the former Division of Motor Vehicles employee is getting away with just a slap on the wrist.

When Brian Hamasaki was assigned to the Fort Street Mall Satellite City Hall, he found weaknesses in the computer system that allowed him to update vehicle registrations without collecting the required fees.

"I would like to say sorry to the city, to the public for what I did," the convicted thief said.

What he did was accept more than 100 bribes in exchange for fraudulently updating registration paperwork, and deprive the city of more than $35,000 in revenue.

"The defendant caused substantial harm to the city, not only financially but the effect that it has on the public's confidence," Chris Van Marter, deputy prosecutor, said.

For that, prosecutors say he deserves a 15-year prison term.

But his attorney says he's already suffered.

"He'll be on the TV tonight," William Jameson, defense attorney, said. "He has been forever exposed to the world as something that we shun. That is a horrible experience to undergo."

"I feel real, really scared as far as going to prison and not knowing what's going to happen to my family, financially and emotionally," Hamasaki said.

Noting Hamasaki's clean record prior to this, the judge sentences him to one year in jail and five years probation.

"The court's sentence was a mere slap on the wrist," Van Marter said. "And in our view, the sentence minimizes the seriousness of the conduct and it strikes a blow to the integrity of the criminal justice system."

Hamasaki must pay more than $35,000 in restitution. He'll start serving his one-year jail term Friday.