Raymond Fujii, 68, of Kailua was sentenced Friday in district court to 42 months in federal prison for engaging in a mail fraud scheme involving the embezzlement of $1,483,800, and failing to report that income on his federal tax returns.
In addition to the 42-month term of imprisonment, Fujii was ordered to pay $1,234,713 in restitution to the victim organization and the Internal Revenue Service.
Fujii pled guilty to mail fraud and filing a false federal income tax return on January 27, 2016.
According to information produced to the court, from 1997 through 2014, Fujii used his position to embezzle money from the Painting and Decorating Contractors Association of Hawaii (PDCA) and the Painting Industry of Hawaii Trade Promotion and Charity Fund, a trust fund that promotes the local painting industry.
Fujii, who was executive director of the former and administrator of the latter, organized and directed board meetings, and prepared minutes of meetings and financial statements for both organizations. Fujii also was an authorized signatory on the bank accounts for both entities.
During court proceedings, Fujii admitted writing checks to a company that he owned, either forging or fraudulently obtaining the signatures of directors on the checks, and then depositing the money in his personal account.
He obtained a total of $1,483,800, but failed to report the money on his federal or State of Hawaii income tax returns. The failure to report the income resulted in tax losses to the federal and state governments of $315,829 and $135,565, respectively.
Following the discovery of the offense, Fujii sold his personal residence and used the funds to repay $564,915 to the PDCA.
During Friday’s sentencing proceedings, Chief Judge J. Michael Seabright noted that Fujii’s conduct was a “naked betrayal” of the painting association’s trust, and that Fujii had obtained the money tax-free by not reporting it on his income tax returns.
The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, and the Department of Labor Office of Management Labor Standards, and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Larry Tong.