Hawaii Businesswoman Pleads Guilty to Embezzling Union Member Benefits

On June 17, Roberta Cabral pled guilty in a Honolulu federal court to defrauding a non-profit organization established to benefit members of HERE Local 5 and the Intl Bhd. of Teamsters.

First, Cabral admitted to not filing tax returns for $50,000 in commissions she received in 1994 for her role in a $10 million investment made by the union non-profit, Unity House, Inc. She laundered the commissions through  a British Virgin Islands corporation she controlled and used for the concealment of her income.

Second, she admitted to participating in a scheme to defraud Unity House with her now deceased co-defendant Roderick Rodriquez.  According to the plea agreement, Cabral and Rodriquez a conspired to “pad” the budget of a one-hour television project funded by Unity House entitled “Heavenly Road”, later known as “Blue Hawaii”, for which she was to receive a kickback of $150,000. Cabral also pled guilty to two more counts of tax evasion for 1992-93. She was indicted on April 25, 2001, after a joint investigation by the Honolulu office of the U.S. Dept. of Labor’s Office of Labor-Mgmt. Standards, the IRS and FBI.

Cabral is scheduled to be sentenced by visiting Sr. U.S. Dist. Judge Manuel L. Real (U.S.D.C. Cent. Dist. CA, Johnson) on November 1. At that time, Cabral faces a maximum penalty of up to five years imprisonment on each of the two counts of income tax evasion (26 U.S.C. § 7201) and one count of wire fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1343). Each of these charges carries a potential fine of up to $250,000 and, except for the wire fraud charge, the costs of prosecution. For her willful failure to file a federal tax return, Cabral faces a maximum term of one year of imprisonment and a $100,000 fine. [U.S.A.O. D.HI, DOL]