Ex-Waipahu High School business manager sentenced

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - At his sentencing for theft and money laundering, the prosecutor called Warren Harada's crime a "case of greed."

Harada stole nearly $500,000 from Waipahu High School.

Over five years as the school's business manager, he bought then sold equipment and spent the money on himself.

"Warren Harada did not only steal our money, he stole much more. He sullied the reputation of Waipahu High School and in the process the trust of our students, fellow co-workers and our community," principal Keith Hayashi said.

Harada, 62, used the cash to buy expensive camera gear and computers and to foot the bill for family trips. He had until today to come up with the money.

"He has not come up with the restitution which would have at least helped the state make Waipahu High School whole again," deputy prosecutor Chris Young said.

Hayashi uncovered the thefts when he spotted irregularities with purchase orders Harada made. The theft took money from students.

"We'll do what we need to do to recover, but we'll feel the impact from this theft for years to come," Hayashi said.

Harada declined to comment in court or offer and apology.

"He's just scared," defense attorney Scott Collins said. "But he's here today to take full responsibility."

Harada is selling his Manoa home to pay back the money.

Other cases of employee theft in the Department of Education resulted in deferrals or probation.

"This is the first case that we've brought involving a school employee where he actually is going to jail," Young said.

Harada was taken into custody to begin service his ten-year sentence.

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