Former county worker enters not guilty plea


A former employee of the Hawaii County Department of Finance Vehicle Registration and Licensing Division has pleaded not guilty to embezzling from the county.

On Thursday, Hilo Circuit Judge Greg Nakamura ordered 45-year-old Mary L. “Leinaala” DeMello of Pepeekeo to stand trial before Hilo Circuit Judge Greg Hara at 8:30 a.m. Nov. 24. DeMello was indicted by a Hilo grand jury July 9 on charges of first-degree theft and first-degree computer fraud.

The indictment states the offenses took place between Aug. 1, 2009 and July 28, 2011. The document doesn’t contain the amount allegedly stolen by DeMello but the threshold for first-degree theft is $20,000.

First-degree computer fraud is a Class A felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and first-degree theft is a Class B felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

DeMello is free on supervised release.