WAILUKU - A former employee has been ordered to share in repaying more than $3,500 stolen from the Molokai satellite office of the Maui County Division of Motor Vehicles & Licensing.
Renee Montizor, 50, was given a chance to keep a conviction off her record if she complies with court requirements for the next five years.
She had pleaded no contest to second-degree theft of money from January 2011 to March 2012 while she was working at the Molokai satellite office. She also pleaded no contest to misapplication of entrusted property.
The thefts came to light when DMV officials noticed deposits were being made late and conducted an audit, said Deputy Prosecutor Lewis Littlepage.
The defendant reported she had been borrowing money but did pay it back, he said. "As happens in those cases where people borrow from the till, they do lose track," Littlepage said.
Deputy Public Defender Danielle Sears said Montizor has no criminal record.
"This was a very situational circumstance," Sears said. "She was in dire financial straits. She was trying to make ends meet and made completely the wrong choices."
During her sentencing Thursday, Montizor said she was sorry and ashamed. "I expect to not ever, ever do this again," she said.
Second Circuit Judge Joseph Cardoza followed a plea agreement between the defense and prosecution in sentencing Montizor. She was ordered to perform 100 hours of community service.
Montizor also was ordered to pay $3,515 in restitution, with the repayment amount shared by another former employee arrested in the case.
The other employee, Shawna Lopez, 35, of Kaunakakai is awaiting sentencing after also pleading no contest to second-degree theft and misapplication of entrusted property.
In another sentencing, a 20-year-old Haiku woman was ordered to pay $317 in restitution and perform 100 hours of community service in a case of shoplifting from a Kihei bikini store.
Marina DeSouza was given a chance to keep a second-degree theft conviction off her record if she complies with court requirements for five years. She was ordered to pay a fine of $2,256, four times the value of the stolen merchandise.
The shoplifting occurred June 9, 2011, when DeSouza and another woman entered Bikini Market, took swimwear into a dressing room and tore off security tags before leaving the store with the swimwear, said Deputy Prosecutor Jeffrey Temas. He said a good Samaritan took note of the license plate of the car the women left in, leading to their arrests.
At DeSouza's sentencing Thursday, defense attorney Ben Lowenthal said she had saved $880 to pay toward restitution, court fees and the fine.
"The person who did this is not who I am or who I want to be," DeSouza said in court. "This is the best worst mistake I've ever made."
Cardoza followed a plea agreement in sentencing DeSouza. She was ordered to write a letter apologizing and to stay away from Bikini Market.
Co-defendant Claire Domerego, 21, of Haiku also was given a chance to keep a second-degree theft conviction off her record when she was sentenced last year.
* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.