- Associated Press - Monday, February 24, 2014

HILO, Hawaii (AP) - A former Bank of Hawaii banker has pleaded guilty to embezzling tens of thousands of dollars from various Big Island organizations, including a Little League team.

Cheryl Octavio’s plea agreement states she stole at least $22,000 from Hilo Little League accounts and thousands more from two soccer clubs, a pageant organization and a car repair shop, Hawaii Tribune-Herald (https://ow.ly/tWSqy ) reported Monday. She was president of the Little League.

Naomi Campbell, Little League district administrator for Hawaii and Maui counties, said she suspected something was wrong with Hilo Little League’s books in 2011, which prompted her to ask a league official to conduct an internal audit.

“Cheryl’s a really good lady, but she got caught up in all her activities, trying to be a good mother, that she just fell from one thing to another, from the way I see it,” Campbell said. “But, of course, that matters not. It’s a lot of money that the kids were deprived of. It’s a very sad situation.”

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. reimbursed the league $30,000, which allowed the league to start up the 2014 season, Campbell said.

Defense attorney Marcus Sierra said his client is “not your typical criminal or mastermind.” He suggested she could have fallen into debt that she couldn’t climb out of.

“I think what she wants to do is to rebuild the trust that she’s lost and undo the harm that she’s done, if that can be undone, a little bit,” he said. He said she’ll attempt to do that by paying restitution and participating in community programs.

Octavio, 43, is scheduled to be sentenced April 28 in federal court in Honolulu. The terms of her plea agreement include a sentence of up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million. Sierra said that because she took responsibility, he’ll be able to argue for a shorter incarceration.

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Information from: Hawaii Tribune-Herald, https://www.hawaiitribune-herald.com/

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