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Oahu accountant accused of embezzling $860,000+

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HONOLULU -

A 47-year-old Oahu accountant was indicted by a grand jury on Wednesday and was charged with 85 counts of first-degree theft and second-degree forgery, according to city prosecutors.

Justintuan M. Ha, also known as Justin Ha, is accused of forging checks from four companies and stealing more than $860,000 between May 28, 2013 and Feb. 10, 2017.

Ha was the controller for property management company AMH Inc.  He also performed accounting services for the Windward City Shopping Center, Kailua Bay Investors, and Building Maintenance Solutions Inc.

City prosecutors say this indictment is the latest in a series of embezzlement cases filed against accountants.  This year, Tamila Alcoran, an accountant employed by Greg Boyer Hawaiian Landscapes, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for stealing $1.3 million from the company.  Adrienne Saffery, who did accounting work for the Hawaii Kai Shopping Center, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for stealing $286,000 from the company.  Also, Patrick Oki, a certified public accountant, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for stealing $440,000 from his former accounting firm PKF Pacific Hawaii LLP.

City Prosecuting Attorney Keith Kaneshiro is reminding businesses about the importance of conducting frequent and unannounced audits, especially of the company's bank and credit card accounts, petty cash funds, and the company's business line of credit accounts.

"Company officials should compare checks that were processed through the bank to the company's internal records and makes sure that the payee and the amount listed on the checks match the company's internal records," said Kaneshiro.  "Failure to do so may result in embezzlement schemes going undetected for years, making prosecution difficult and recovery of restitution less likely."