Bookkeeper pleads guilty to stealing more than $1.3 million

The Maui News

A former Ki-Hana Nursery bookkeeper pleaded guilty Wednesday to wire fraud for stealing more than $1.3 million from the Kihei business.

Thelma Pascua-Suyat of Kahului entered the plea and was found guilty when she appeared in U.S. District Court in Honolulu.

According to a document filed in court, Pascua-Suyat falsified business records to indicate money was being used to pay legitimate company expenses while instead using company funds to make payments on her credit cards and to pay the mortgage on her home. She transferred funds from the nursery’s bank account in hundreds of transactions from December 2008 to January 2016, according to the document.

Pascua-Suyat had access to the nursery’s commercial bank account, business credit card and bookkeeping software while she was employed there as a professional bookkeeper from about 2004 until her employment was terminated in January 2016.

At the court hearing Wednesday, Pascua-Suyat was released on a $50,000 unsecured bond. As part of her release, she was ordered to surrender her passport and was banned from working in any positions where she has actual or potential access to cash unless her employer is notified of the criminal charge.

She is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 26.