Former aio Accounting Clerk Indicted by Grand Jury for Bank Fraud and Tax Fraud

June, 2017

A former collections analyst for aio, Hawaii Business magazine’s parent company, was indicted by a federal grand jury last week on 32 counts of bank fraud totaling more than $3.8 million, which the indictment indicates was diverted from Honolulu Magazine and Ala Moana Magazine from 2009 to 2014. In one indication of the complexity of the scheme, the indictment says she also repaid almost $2.5 million of the stolen money to conceal her fraud.

Johanne Jarlego, 44, was indicted by a U.S. District Court grand jury June 21, but the charges were sealed until Monday afternoon when she was charged and pleaded not guilty in court.

Susan Eichor, aio president, said that once irregularities were discovered by aio, “We engaged an independent third-party to conduct a thorough investigation and learned the checks intended for deposit were diverted from the company in what investigators called a very complex scheme,” Eichor said. Ultimately, none of aio’s clients were affected financially, she said. The investigation confirmed no other employee was involved.

Jarlego is no longer with the company.

According to the indictment, she received and collected checks intended to pay for advertising in the magazines, then deposited checks to companies called Ala Moana Trinkets, Books and Magazines; and Honolulu Trinkets, Books and Magazines, “falsely making it appear that she was doing business as a retail store offering books, magazines and reading material.”

She diverted $3,833,640, but repaid $2,428,600 to the company “to conceal her scheme and keep it alive,” the indictment says. Since that time, Eichor said, the company has reviewed financial procedures and taken additional precautions.

Jarlego was also charged with four counts of filing a false tax return.

She was employed by aio from November 2004 to March 2015, when an investigation began. aio is the parent company that publishes Honolulu Magazine and, at the time, published Ala Moana Magazine, under contract with the shopping center. “We were just incredibly shocked and disappointed, particularly because of the premeditation,” Eichor said.

Human resources director Ken Miyasato said: “The foundation of our workplace is built on trust. To find out our trust has been betrayed obviously comes as a major disappointment.”

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