Hilo woman gets 19 months for embezzlement
A Hilo woman was sentenced in U.S. District Court to 19 months in prison Friday for embezzlement.
Cheryl L. Octavio stole at least $55,960 from several accounts, including those belonging to youth sports groups, a pageant organization and a car repair shop, while working as a business banking officer with the Bank of Hawaii. She pleaded guilty in November.
The thefts occurred between December 2009 and November 2012. The largest amount, $22,627, was taken from Hilo Little League, which she previously served as president.
Octavio will begin her sentence Aug. 22.
Representatives of the league couldn’t be reached for comment.
Other groups Octavio stole from include Big Island Futbol Club, also known as Haaheo Soccer Club, at least $13,969; Na Hoa O Puna soccer club, at least $4,873; Lehua Hawaii Productions, at least $4,491; and East Hawaii Auto Center, $10,000.
Christian Kort, owner of East Hawaii Auto Center, said Friday before the sentencing that Octavio had forged his wife’s signature while the two were on vacation in 2012.
“I don’t want to wish her any harm,” he said. “It’s unfortunate someone would do that.”
Kort said the bank reimbursed the business.
Octavio faced a sentencing range between 15 and 21 months. She didn’t have a prior criminal record.
Marcus Sierra, her attorney, said Octavio is remorseful for the thefts. He said she ran into financial trouble, which prompted the embezzlement.
Sierra said she made attempts to repay the thefts in small amounts.
“It certainly wasn’t enough to pay back what she took,” he said.
“I think she has a hard road ahead of her,” Sierra added.
Prior to the charge, the U.S. Small Business Association recognized Octavio’s work for the bank with a silver award in November 2010.
Email Tom Callis at firstname.lastname@example.org.