LawFuel – Legal Newswire – The former finance director and chief investment officer of Soka University of America has been sentenced to 37 months in federal prison for embezzling more than $1.7 million of Soka funds over the course of seven years and funneling the money through sham Soka bank accounts that he created.
Kiyoshi Hatanaka, 52, of Aliso Viejo, was sentenced Monday in federal court in Santa Ana before United States District Judge James V. Selna. In addition to the prison term, Judge Selna ordered Hatanaka to pay $1,756,000 in restitution to Soka.
As the finance director and CIO at the school, Hatanaka had access to Soka’s bank accounts and investment accounts. He also had responsibility for managing Soka’s investments. Accordingly, Hatanaka had the ability to cause unauthorized transfers and withdrawals to be made from Soka’s bank accounts and accounts in which its investments were held.
Beginning in 1999 and continuing until early January 2006, Hatanaka caused $1,756,000 to be transferred from Soka’s bank and investment accounts to bank accounts he had established at California Bank and Trust. Hatanaka withdrew those funds from the accounts that he controlled, and then used those funds for his own benefit.
In this case, Soka discovered the embezzlement when suspicious activity was reported to it by its bank. Soka contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which launched the investigation that led to charges being filed against Hatanaka.
The investigation in this case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
CONTACT: Assistant United States Attorney Lawrence E. Kole