Ex-Salvation Army official admits fraud in Hawaii
By Peter Boylan
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Peter Boylan
A former Salvation Army official pleaded guilty yesterday to defrauding the charitable organization and four elderly donors out of more than $300,000.
Timothy Peter Janusz, a 44-year-old federal felon who holds degrees in law and business administration, pleaded guilty to 12 felony counts, including first-degree theft, forgery and money laundering. He admitted to taking money intended for the Salvation Army from donors between 2004 and 2006.
Each count carries a possible sentence of five to 10 years in prison and fines of up to $10,000 per count.
Janusz was the Salvation Army's director of planned giving. He was fired when the allegations of wrongdoing surfaced.
Janusz, who was convicted in 1996 on federal fraud charges for stealing $2.2 million from an elderly Colorado couple, had previously pleaded not guilty to all of the Hawai'i charges.
"Mr. Janusz pled guilty to 12 very serious crimes," city deputy prosecutor Chris Van Marter said of yesterday's plea. "... He's got a prior history of conning elderly people out of money. We're going to be asking for prison."
Deputy Public Defender Craig Nagamine, Janusz's lawyer, declined comment prior to sentencing. Janusz is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Steven Alm Nov. 26.
Janusz was arrested in April 2006 for defrauding a 77-year-old man and the Salvation Army of about $150,000 that was supposed to go to the charity.
Janusz also defrauded the charity of more than $10,000 in bogus work-related mileage claims.
He also admitted to defrauding two Honolulu women and a Big Island man of about $141,000 and defrauding the charity of more than $10,000 for mileage expenses by forging the name of a supervisor on the claim forms.
Police were able to recover $150,000 from Janusz and the Salvation Army refunded the donors all of their money.
When the fraud allegations first surfaced in April 2006, Salvation Army officials in charge of the organization's Hawai'i activities said they had not known about Janusz's criminal history.
Since then, the organization has revamped its procedures to call for criminal background checks, not only for employees who deal with youths, but also those who come in contact with the public in general.
Reach Peter Boylan at firstname.lastname@example.org.