Former airport employee sentenced

LIHU‘E — A former airport employee was sentenced for a series of thefts from her employer.

Maycia-Rae Mahina Matsuyoshi, 36, of Kapa‘a, was sentenced to five-years probation. She must also pay $300 per month in restitution as a term of her probation.

Matsuyoshi was arrested on June 29, 2011 and charged with three counts of second-degree theft from the Hawai‘i Department of Transportation — Airports Division. She entered a guilty change of plea to all three class c felonies on Feb. 27.

Deputy Attorney General Simeona Mariano said Matsuyoshi was a supervisor in a position of trust who used deception to steal $16,821.33 in cash, checks and unauthorized charges from her employer.

State Deputy Public Defender Christian Enright said Matsuyoshi did not steal to feed vices or addictions. She is not a drug user or an alcoholic, he said.

The problem started, said Enright, when Matsuyoshi faced the economic downturn with an extra dependent and chose to take money from work with the plan to pay it back when things turned around. Things spiraled out of control in 2010, he said.

That is no excuse, but this background and the lack of any criminal record does show that she is a good person who is very ashamed for what she did, Enright said.

The ability to keep fully employed and continue to make payments was a concern of Judge Kathleen N. A. Watanabe of the 5th Circuit.

If she were to falter, the prosecutor could file a motion to revoke probation and send her to jail. Matsuyoshi was sentenced to 90 days in jail but is was stayed as long as she complies with probation.

A full restitution order set by the prosecution as part of the plea deal is what requires the sizable monthly payments. She must also pay a $2,000 fine that will take effect with the completed restitution.

Watanabe did not sentence Matsuyoshi to 300 hours community service as requested by the prosecutor, saying the defendant should focus on finding full-time employment to maintain payments.

Matsuyoshi answered many questions for Watanabe and said she was sorry for betraying the trust of her employer and bringing shame to her family and to herself.

• Tom LaVenture, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 224) or tlaventure@thegardenisland.com.

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