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Former boating official in prison for embezzlement

Former state boating official Wesley Choi began serving a 10-year prison sentence this morning for embezzling nearly $125,000 from the state.

It will be up to the Hawaii Paroling Authority to decide how many of the 10 years Choi must remain behind bars before he is eligible for parole.

Choi could have gotten probation and an 18-month prison term had he repaid the money by today’s sentencing, according to the terms of his plea deal with the state attorney general.

His lawyer Scott Collins said Choi was not able to come up with the $124,966.

The 39-year-old Choi stole the money by submitting false bids for non-existent facility repair jobs then awarded himself the contracts, said Vince Kanemoto, deputy state attorney general.

Choi was assistant district manager for small boat harbors on Oahu, including Ala Wai, Keehi, Waianae, Haleiwa and Heeia Kea, before resigning last year.

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