Nonprofit’s ex-leader jailed for embezzlement

The former executive director of a nonprofit organization that shelters and helps homeless people in Leeward Oahu find permanent housing is going to jail for a year for stealing more than a half-million dollars from the organization.

A state judge sentenced Sophina Placencia to four years of probation Monday, one year of which she must serve behind bars, on five counts of theft for stealing $554,541 from Waianae Community Outreach. The thefts occurred between 2007 and 2013. Placencia, 35, pleaded no contest to the charges in April 2016. She has until May 15 to turn herself in to begin serving her jail term.

Circuit Judge Dean Ochiai also ordered Placencia to repay the state Department of Human Services the $554,541 she stole. The organization had and continues to receive approximately $1 million per year in funding from the state.

Placencia told Ochiai that she takes responsibility for what she did and knows that she tarnished the reputation of the organization her mother…

Original published: 4 April 2017 10:05 am Read the full Hawaii News here

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