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Kaua‘i man sentenced to probation for government theft

LIHU‘E — The former federal government employee who illegally spent $35,000 in public money, expressed remorse before his sentencing in federal court on Tuesday.

Scott Poland, 58, pleaded guilty in November 2022 to two counts of government theft for making dozens of unauthorized purchases while working for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Kaua‘i.

On Tuesday afternoon, federal Judge Helen Gillmor sentenced Poland to three years probation and required him to pay the $35,000 back in restitution.

“I was entrusted with public money and used it for my personal use, and for this I am truly sorry,” wrote Poland in a statement to the court. “I have always prided myself on the respect that my community and my family had for me that I know that I no longer have, and can only work and move forward to gain that trust and forgiveness in the future.”

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

The purchases ranged in value 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. While all the offenses mentioned in the indictment occurred within a six-month period in 2017, prosecutors allege the activity was going on back in 2013.

The sentence was relatively lenient — theft of government property is a felony offense that can result in a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

In a memo, Poland’s attorney, federal Public Defender Craig Jerome, emphasized that Poland and his wife “struggled financially,” especially after his wife retired. The illegal purchases ramped up after his family was evicted from their residence in 2017.

“While certainly inexcusable and criminal, Mr. Poland’s conduct was not funding an extravagant or indulgent lifestyle,” wrote Jerome.

According to court documents, when confronted with the unauthorized purchases in 2017, Poland said to his supervisor: “What do you want me to do? I’m being paid as a GS-4, and I can’t make it.”

Jerome argued for probation, citing Poland’s financial struggles, status as a veteran, limited criminal history and recent enrollment in a college program.

Poland’s wife also offered her support for her husband, stating in a letter to the judge that he was “not a criminal, just a man that made some poor choices and has learned his lesson.”


Guthrie Scrimgeour, reporter, can be reached at 808-647-0329 or
Source: The Garden Island

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