Pablo M. Rivera, age 41, of Honolulu, Hawaii, pled guilty today in federal court to one count of wire fraud. According to court documents, from July 2014 to January 2017, Rivera, the Chief Financial Officer of the University of the Nations (UOFN), defrauded UOFN of $3,096,241 through a scheme that involved Rivera submitting false invoices for construction related projects on UOFN’s campus.
Elliot Enoki, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Hawaii, said that according to court documents and information presented in court, UOFN tasked Rivera with hiring and paying contractors to do various jobs on UOFN’s Kailua-Kona campus. Rivera sent a series of invoices to UOFN which purported to reflect the true costs and labor charges of work performed by contractor KJ Walk, Inc. (KJ Walk), but in reality were false and altered KJ Walk invoices. The altered invoices falsely inflated the actual costs and wages for work performed by KJ Walk. UOFN paid the invoices, resulting in the transfer of funds from UOFN’s checking account to a KJ Walk corporate account that was controlled by both KJ Walk and Rivera. Once the money was transferred to the KJ Walk corporate account, Rivera made withdrawals from the KJ Walk account.
Rivera will be sentenced on August 28, 2017, by United States District Judge Susan Oki Mollway, and will face a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment. Rivera has agreed to repay UOFN $3,096,241.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The prosecution was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Nammar.