HONOLULU — The chief financial officer of an international school in Hawaii has admitted to stealing more than $3 million from the school.
Pablo M. Rivera pleaded guilty to wire fraud Monday in U.S. District Court, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported (http://bit.ly/2pOOJsc ).
Rivera had worked at Youth With A Mission’s University of Nations’ campus in Kailua-Kona when he lied in email communications with school officials about the cost of construction and maintenance projects, according to the charges.
He faces a prison sentence of up to 20 years and a maximum fine of $250,000 at sentencing in August. He also must pay back the nearly $3.1 million he stole.
He will forfeit money and property the government has identified as proceeds from crime.
The items Rivera will forfeit include his home in Colorado, a condominium in Waikoloa, a sport utility vehicle in Colorado, $71,790 in various bank and trading accounts, $11,322 in cash and a precious-gem ring. He will also forfeit items that were in a safe deposit box in Colorado, including two diamond rings, five loose cut diamonds and 114 grams of gold dust and gold nuggets.
Rivera stole the money from around September 2014 to this past January by inflating the cost of the work done by a contractor and then withdrawing the difference from the contractor’s bank account, according to the charges.
Rivera’s lawyer had said in court that Rivera, who lives in Colorado, came to Hawaii in January to tell the school’s board what he had done.
When school officials reported the theft to the FBI, they estimated Rivera had stolen between $1.5 million and $2 million. By late February, the government’s tally was up to $2.5 million.
The $3,096,241 is the amount all parties, including Rivera, agree that he stole.
Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, http://www.staradvertiser.com