WAILUKU - For five years, when her annual income ranged from $135,000 to $217,417, a Maui real estate agent didn't file general excise tax returns with the state, a deputy attorney general said.
On Wednesday, Ginger Yiao was ordered to pay $33,614 in back taxes as part of her sentence for attempted tax evasion in 2003 and failing to file the returns in 2000, 2001 and 2003 to 2005.
The 49-year-old, who now lives on Oahu, also was ordered to pay a $1,750 fine and perform 100 hours of community service.
Noting she has no prior criminal record, 2nd Circuit Judge Joel August gave her a chance to keep convictions off her record if she follows court requirements while under supervision for the next five years.
Yiao had pleaded no contest to one felony count of attempting to evade taxes in 2003 - when she claimed she was a resident of California and had no taxable income in the state - and five misdemeanor counts of failing to file general excise tax returns.
"She clearly wasn't paying her taxes during this time period," said Deputy Attorney General Mark Miyahira.
While he recommended a seven-day jail term for Yiao, her attorney, Richard McClellan, said incarceration would create a hardship for Yiao, a single parent. He said Yiao had since made good on her back taxes.
The money was paid into an escrow fund, with the understanding that it would be released to the state once her court case was over.
So far this year, Yiao has earned only $2,900 from one real estate sale, McClellan said. "She has not earned any other money to date," he said. "It is unlikely this year will equal last year, which was not a particularly prosperous year."
In court, Yiao said she survives with help from her church, including a church member who provides a room for her and her son.
"I learned my lesson the hard way," she said. "I know I'm not going to ignore my responsibility as a citizen."
Both McClellan and Miyahira made reference to a man who had been Yiao's assistant and had her signed power of attorney. "She was perhaps not aware of everything he was doing," McClellan said.
Miyahira said the state didn't have enough information to charge the man, who is a disbarred attorney.
In an unrelated case, August ordered a five-year prison term Wednesday for Christopher B. Perkins, 49, who was caught trying to pawn stolen gold coins in November 2006. The coins and jewelry, including a ring found on Perkins' finger, were stolen in a burglary.
Perkins, who fled the state shortly after his arrest, had pleaded no contest to a reduced charge of second-degree theft. He was ordered to pay $16,335 in restitution.
* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.