WAILUKU — A Maui woman charged with illegally taking money from a fund set up for the care of her daughter has been ordered to repay a bank nearly $173,000.
Prosecutors said Elizabeth Gentile forged an attorney’s signature and stole money from a bank conservatorship account set up for the care of her daughter from June 2011 to May 2013, the Maui News reported.
“Nineteen times she forged her daughter’s attorney’s name as a signature on withdrawal slips,” said Deputy Prosecutor Justine Hura at sentencing. “Nineteen times she submitted these forged withdrawal slips to the bank. And 19 times she used these illegal withdrawals to move her daughter’s protected money to her own account.”
Gentile withdrew amounts ranging from $4,000 to $21,000, Hura said.
Gentile’s daughter’s attorney discovered unauthorized activity on May 3, 2013, and reported it.
Gentile pleaded no contest to theft, contempt of court and 19 counts of forgery. Prosecutors in a plea agreement did not seek prison time or oppose Gentile’s request for a chance to avoid conviction if she complies with court requirements over five years. Pursuant to Hawaii law, the court deferred further proceedings pending her completion of terms imposed by the judge. The record reflects that charges were ultimately dismissed, effective October 2019.
Gentile’s daughter, a second-grader in 2004, broke her right femur in a fall on May 21, 2004, on a wet cafeteria floor at Haiku Elementary School. She was left permanently disabled and unable to walk.
Gentile sued, claiming the girl was pushed. The lawsuit said school officials knew she suffered from juvenile arthritis and did not properly supervise the girl.
School officials had a plan in place to allow the girl to go to lunch early, but on the day she fell, a substitute teacher was supervising the class.
A judge in August 2009 after a nonjury trial ordered the state to pay $787,397 to the girl and $100,000 to her mother.
Territorial Savings Bank opened a conservatorship to hold the money awarded to the girl. The bank was ordered to restore the account. Gentile was ordered to pay restitution to the bank, Hura said.
The bank sought “a substantial prison term” for Gentile at her Oct. 30 sentencing.
This story was first published on Nov. 10, 2014. It was updated on Dec. 14, 2020, to correct that a Maui woman was not convicted of financial crimes. She pleaded no contest to the charges and, pursuant to Hawaii law, the court deferred further proceedings pending her completion of terms imposed by the judge. The record reflects that charges were ultimately dismissed, effective October 2019.