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Former Lanikai school PTO head pleads no contest to theft, money laundering

By Nelson Daranciang

LAST UPDATED: 01:20 a.m. HST, Dec 14, 2013

A former president of Lanikai Elementary School's parent-teacher organization pleaded no contest in state court Friday morning to stealing at least $20,000 from the support group.

Tonya Taylor, 43, pleaded no contest to first-degree theft and money laundering.

She faces a maximum 10-year prison term for each of the two charges at sentencing in June. She has informed the court, however, that she plans to ask for a deferral of her pleas to avoid conviction.

The state Attorney General says Taylor stole more than $50,000 over a four-year period from the Lanikai School Ohana, former known as the Lanikai Elementary Public Charter School PTSA, which the state wants her to pay back.

Taylor is disputing the amount of the theft.

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What is it with the DOE and its thieves. Cant they hire people that can act with eithical and moral standards that would preclude them from stealing and embezzling money. Whats worse, it always seems to be money for the kids. So sad.
on December 13,2013 | 11:38AM
agile wrote:
I work for DOE and I can give you some insight into how these things happen. There is little to no oversight in some offices since office employees become buddy-buddy and may even be relatives or "friends of family." They just look the other way, or feel it's not "pono" to question procedures. Trust me, if you ever spend just 1 day in certain DOE school offices, you'll understand what I mean. Another phenomenon, if something goes wrong in an office, the blame will be placed on the lowest rung on the DOE employee ladder. And there's nothing that peon can do.
on December 13,2013 | 02:02PM
FinzyKontini wrote:
You hit the nail right on the head. I've worked a few state jobs back in the day and this is exactly the thing that goes on when there is no superintendant coming over to make surprise routine check visits. Really, we ain't much from China when it comes to corruption. We just do it...more subtlely is all.
on December 13,2013 | 02:49PM
FinzyKontini wrote:
Ever heard of Penn State? It's called a lack of institutional control AKA boss turns a blind eye just because you offer him/her a box of pastries from Liliha's Bakery every friday.
on December 13,2013 | 02:46PM
Mahalo wrote:
No contest is just like saying Guilty except you don't use the words... She could still from kids but didn't have the balls to send up and say I did it loudly.
on December 13,2013 | 01:17PM
makiki123 wrote:
Please send her to prison for a minimum of 1 year. Tired of all these thieves getting off with slaps on the wrist and just doing community service. Can't we also impose heavy fines for stealing? If they don't want to do the time, then pay $100,000 the money you stole immediately. But you still get a felony record for the rest of your life. None of this deferral stuff. You get a conviction and you get a record.
on December 13,2013 | 04:02PM
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