A prominent Honolulu accountant accused of stealing half-a-million dollars from his company pleaded not guilty in court Thursday.
Patrick Oki appeared on charges of theft, money laundering, forgery and more.
Prosecutors say he filed fraudulent claims against the company using fictitious names and forged signatures over a three-year period.
He’s also been ordered to stay away from his former partners of PKF Pacific Hawaii, who issued the complaint against him.
“They were concerned that there might be ramifications as a result of them reporting their former partner,” said deputy prosecutor Chris Van Marter.
Richard Sing, Oki’s attorney, would not comment as to why Oki should be found not guilty, but said he’s confident none of the company’s clients were affected.
“The one thing we are confident of is that there are no allegations of any injury or criminal conduct against the clients of PKF,” he said.
“When the evidence is presented at trial, it will show that it was the defendant and the defendant alone who violated the trust of his partners, his fellow partners and breached the trust that the employees put in him,” said Van Marter.
Oki has stepped aside to deal with his legal issues and is not earning a salary while on leave from PKF.
But the company is still standing by Oki.
KHON2 spoke with Reg Baker, who’s now in charge with two other partners. He says the accusations are a personal matter between Oki and four former partners who turned him in.
Baker also believes Oki will be back managing the company.
“If it turns out he’s found guilty, what happens to the company?” KHON2 asked.
“If that should happen, and we’re hopeful that it will not, but if it does, then we’ll explore options with communicating with PKF North America,” Baker said.
Oki was arrested Sunday and charged with theft, money laundering, the use of a computer to commit a crime and forgery.
Baker said there had been a falling out between Oki and four partners who left the company. Those same four partners reported the alleged crimes to the police.
“Of course, you know, whenever you’ve got a falling out of partners, there’s probably some emotions involved,” Baker said. “I believe that it will all come out in court. I believe that Pat is a good person and he will make sure that the truth is told.”
Baker said Oki and the four former partners had been negotiating a settlement so Baker was just as shocked as everybody else at PKF when Oki was arrested.
He said the company itself is still sound, and no other employees have have been implicated in the case, which prosecutors confirm.
KHON2 reached out to the former partners, but haven’t heard back.
Prosecutors asked that Oki be held without bail, but the judge denied that request.
His trial is scheduled to start on June 15.