The FBI, with the assistance of Kauai Police, this week arrested Kerry K. Higashi, 31, of Kapa’a, Kauai, for allegedly embezzling more than $24,000 from a federal credit union and then failing to appear in court.

Robert Allan Jones, Acting Special Agent-in-Charge of the Honolulu Office of the FBI, announced the arrest Thursday.

A Federal Grand Jury indictment says Higashi, an employee of the Kauai Teachers Federal Credit Union, embezzled $24,721 from two customer accounts between October 7, 2009 until May 30, 2011.

She failed to appear in court after she was served with a criminal summons, leading to her arrest on additional charges. She was transported to Honolulu and made her initial appearance in U.S. District Court on Thursday.

Honolulu FBI Special Agent Tom Simon said: “Hawaii banks and credit unions are the cornerstone of our local economy, and ensuring the safety of depositor money is a top priority for the Honolulu FBI’s financial crimes team.”


He added: “Depositors into banks and credit unions have a right to know that their money will be safe from theft by financial institution employees.”

To avoid becoming a victim of such schemes, Simon said: “Bank and credit union customers should review their bank statements regularly and be on the lookout for unauthorized withdrawals.  This is basic stuff, but it’s also how most bank embezzlers are eventually caught.”

The maximum penalty for embezzling from a federal credit union is 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

 

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