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June 26, 2017Honolulu, HI, United StatesFinancial Crimes

Hawaii woman indicted on federal bank fraud and tax violations

HONOLULU – A Hawaii woman pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court Monday following her arrest for her role in a scheme to defraud American Savings Bank that involved filing multiple false tax returns.

Johanne P. Jarlego, 44, of Kapolei, was indicted by a federal grand jury June 21 following a probe by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

That indictment alleges that from June 2008 to February 2015, Jarlego orchestrated a scheme to defraud American Savings Bank while she was working for a Hawaii company that published magazines. Jarlego, who handled accounts receivable, was responsible for collecting and depositing checks made payable to the magazines for the purchase of advertising space. According to the indictment, Jarlego filed business registration paperwork with the State of Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs claiming she would do business in two trade names that were similar to the names of her employer’s magazines. She then opened two business accounts at American Savings Bank in those trade names.

The indictment alleges Jarlego proceeded to divert checks made payable to the magazines and deposit them in her American Savings Bank accounts, falsely claiming the payments were for her businesses. Between 2008 and 2014 Jarlego obtained more than $3.8 million by depositing her employer’s checks into her two bank accounts. She then repaid approximately $2.4 million in order to conceal her activities. Jarlego filed false tax returns for 2011 through 2014, failing to report more than $2.6 million in income that she obtained from the fraud scheme.

In addition to the tax violations, Jarlego is facing 32 counts of bank fraud. Following her arrest, Jarlego pleaded not guilty to all of the charges. She was released on $50,000 bail and ordered to appear for a jury trial Aug. 29 before U.S. District Judge Leslie E. Kobayashi.   

An indictment is merely an accusation, and Jarlego is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Hawaii.