County employees plead guilty to fuel theft
Two former Department of Environmental Management employees charged with stealing diesel fuel while working at the Waimea baseyard have pleaded guilty and been sentenced for their crimes.
Both Donald Wayne Wilbur, 40, and Billy Joseph Colliado, 42, pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree felony theft. In return for the guilty plea, three counts of first-degree unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle and three counts of criminal trespass in the second-degree were dropped against Wilbur, according to court records.
Wilbur was sentenced to one year in jail with all but 30 days waived. He also is jointly liable with Colliado to repay $3,500 in restitution to the county, along with court costs. And, he is required to write a letter apologizing to county residents and society for stealing county resources.
“He pled guilty, he cooperated with the investigation, he took responsibility in court, he was terminated from his employment,” said Wilbur’s attorney, Brian De Lima.
The two were sentenced Sept. 26 in 3rd Circuit Court in Kona by Judge Ronald Ibarra. Records were unclear as to Colliado’s sentence; his attorney, Michelle Kanani Laubach, did not return a telephone or email message by press time Wednesday. Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Mark Disher also did not return a telephone call.
The men were arrested in October 2011, but not charged with the crimes until earlier this year. Wilbur, who was an equipment operator, and Colliado, a Solid Waste Division facility attendant, were fired from the county in December 2011.
The theft of gasoline and diesel fuel had been going on for as long as two years, with DEM Solid Waste Division employees using Department of Public Works gas keys to fill 55-gallon drums with fuel, according to county documents obtained by Stephens Media. A DPW bookkeeper noticed the increase in county fuel purchases, and county employees cooperated with police in a surveillance investigation, according to the documents.
But documents indicate that top DEM officials resisted the investigation and then verbally abused the West Hawaii employee who cooperated with DPW and the police. The employee had estimated as much as $100,000 of fuel had been siphoned off and stolen.
Second-degree theft, which involves theft of more than $300 worth of materials, and first-degree unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle are Class C felonies punishable by up to five years incarceration and a maximum fine of $10,000, according to Hawaii Revised Statutes. Second-degree criminal trespass, a petty misdemeanor, is punishable by up to 30 days incarceration and a fine up to $1,000.