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Kaua‘i federal worker admits to government theft

LIHU‘E — A Kaua‘i federal worker pleaded guilty on Monday to making about $35,000 in unauthorized purchases on his government credit card over the course of several years.

Scott Poland, a former budget clerk with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, was indicted in March on 43 counts of theft.

The indictment lists 43 unauthorized purchases, most of which occurred on Kaua‘i. These were largely mundane expenses, at department stores like The Home Depot and Walmart, and utility companies, with an AT&T bill payment as a monthly offense.

“It’s a list of routine personal expenses,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Nolan.“He admitted today that the personal purchases also included the use of a rental car, utility bills for his residence, personal cellphone bills, and merchandise from retail stores.”

These purchases range in cost from $26.03 at Island Ace Hardware in Princeville, to back-to-back payments of more than $1,000 at a Lihu‘e auto repair shop. They all occurred within a six-month period in 2017.

But prosecutors say the illegal activity was going on much longer — all the way back to 2013.

“We could only charge him for the thefts that fell inside the statute of limitations. But the defendant can agree to pay restitution in a greater amount,” said Nolan.

In a deal with prosecutors, Poland pleaded to only two of the 43 counts on Monday, involving the rental of a self-storage unit and repairs on his car. He agreed that the total value of the charges was $35,000.

His sentencing is set for February 2023. Theft of government property is a felony offense that carries a sentence of up to 10 years in federal prison.

Earlier this year, another Kaua‘i government employee was indicted on felony theft charges.

State prosecutors allege that from March 2017 to October 2019, Mikalynn Hiranaka illegally collected more than $20,000 while employed as a clerk at the Kaua‘i Police Department Records Division.

According to the indictment, Hiranaka used the police department’s computer system with the intent to commit theft of more than $20,000 “by creating and submitting counter service reports.”

She is next set to appear in court for a pretrial conference Jan. 5, 2023.
Source: The Garden Island

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