A federal judge on Monday sentenced a former bookkeeper who embezzled more than $1.3 million from a Maui plant nursery, nearly bankrupting the business.
Thelma Pascua-Suyat, 64, worked at Ki-Hana Nursery in Kihei for about 12 years.
Under a deal with prosecutors, she pleaded guilty to wire fraud in May.
When the business started to struggle financially the owner thought the problem was due to the 2008 recession.
“She took the money to do her own stuff; go on trips, travel places everywhere, going out to $1,000 dinners, buying $800 Louis Vuitton bags,” said nursery owner Louis Scott Walsh.
Pascua-Suyat admitted to falsifying records to cover up using the company’s funds to make mortgage payments on her then-husband’s home as well as credit card payments for both of them.
Walsh can’t afford to retire now because he had to sell a condo to put money back into the business.