HI: Credit Union Embezzler Owes Restitution, Gets Prison Time

Aug. 26--The former loan officer for the credit union of TheBus employees is going to jail for falsely crediting $16,732 to her Visa card account and those of her family members.

U.S. District Chief Judge Susan Oki Mollway on Monday sentenced Nicole Cheung, 35, to 20 days in jail followed by five years of probationlike court supervision. For 30 days of that supervision, she will have to be under electronically monitored home confinement.

Cheung pleaded guilty in May to embezzling and misapplying OTS Employees Federal Credit Union money.

Oahu Transit Services operates the city's bus system.

Mollway also ordered Cheung to pay $21,607 in restitution for the money she misapplied that was covered by the credit union and for the cost to the credit union for having to hire an independent accounting firm to investigate her actions.

Cheung admitted to making 54 false credit card payment entries from 2007 to 2013. She is also accused of pushing back payment-due dates on loans to her and her family members, resulting in 253 missed scheduled payments.

Current credit union Chief Executive Officer Gloria Omandam said in court Monday that Cheung's actions have been devastating to the organization, which has had to spend time and money to investigate what she did. She said the credit union has also had to defend itself against Cheung's bankruptcy filing, in which Cheung listed as exempt from repayment money she and her husband owed the credit union.

Former credit union manager Dona Takushi and former teller Jenny Nishida will be sentenced next month for embezzling and misapplying credit union money during the same period as Cheung.

The credit union has only four paid employees: the CEO-manager, a loan officer, a full-time teller and a part-time teller.

The credit union's insurer, CUMIS Insurance Society Inc., has covered the $993,125 loss caused by the three former employees and is suing them and CU Pacific Audit Solutions LLC, the credit union's auditor, for failing to detect the employees' wrongdoing for so long.

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