February 8, 2016 | 75° | Check Traffic

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Kauai bank employee admits stealing $120,000 from ATM

A former First Hawaiian Bank employee admitted in federal court Tuesday that she stole more than $120,000 from the Kapaa branch’s ATM over a five-year period.

Shelli Ornellas, 35, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to bank theft. She faces maximum penalties of 30 years in prison and $1 million fine at sentencing in September. She must also repay the money she stole.

Ornellas stole the money while working as the Kapaa branch’s ATM custodian from 2008 to Feb. 4, 2013.

“I withdrew money to pay personal bills without the bank’s knowledge,” she said.

Prosecutor Andrea Hattan said Ornellas concealed her theft by manually altering the ATM’s balance to reflect a cash amount higher than what was in the automated teller machine. She was caught when the ATM ran out of money, Hattan said.

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