WAILUKU - A man who asked his friends to help redeem false recycling redemption slips at a Kahului gas station was ordered to pay back $988 and perform 200 hours of community service.
Medel Santiago, 20, also was placed on four years' probation as part of his sentence April 25.
Santiago had pleaded no contest to second-degree theft from Aloha Shell Service, where he had been working.
"I wasn't thinking," Santiago said in court. "I shouldn't have done what I did."
Deputy Public Defender Jared Brickey said Santiago "made the wrong choice" when he decided to push down on the recycling scale so the redemption tickets showed a greater weight. Santiago asked three of his friends to help him by cashing in the tickets, Brickey said.
"There was a reason," Brickey said. "His mother was suffering from cancer and his father wasn't with them. After this incident took place, she passed away."
Second Circuit Judge Rhonda Loo said Santiago might have stolen more than the amount covering the 30-day period that the service station could track.
She said Santiago owed even more to station owner Paul Hanada, who had employed Santiago for more than six years.
Santiago was sentenced as a first-time drug-related property offender. He was given credit for two days he previously spent in jail.
His sentencing followed one on April 16 for co-defendant Jordan R. Lee, 21, who was placed on one year's probation and ordered to perform 100 hours of community service for his role in cashing false redemption slips.
Loo credited Lee for the one day he served in jail and ordered him to write a letter of apology to Hanada.
Loo gave Lee a chance to clear his record if he successfully completes probation, noting his young age and lack of criminal record.
Although Loo recognized that Lee was trying to help a friend's ailing mother by cashing the false slips, she told him he could have done it another way if he didn't have money, such as volunteering around the house instead of stealing.
"You know they (the slips) were false. (But) you went ahead and did it. Not like you were robbing from the rich and going to pay the poor," she said.
Loo said that Lee has had a history of many "hiccups," including getting into trouble at two of his former workplaces in unrelated incidents.
Lee told the court he committed a "bad mistake" when he cashed in the false redemption slips. He said he wanted to find a job to support his young family.
Lee had pleaded no contest to third-degree theft, a misdemeanor, reduced from second-degree theft, a felony, court records show.
The incidents occurred between June 1, 2010, and June 30, 2013, according to court records. Three other individuals were named as co-defendants in the case, records show.
Another co-defendant, Phillip Moniz, was given a chance to keep a third-degree theft conviction off his record when he was sentenced to one year's probation in January.