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California Briefing / ALISO VIEJO

Soka leader guilty of embezzlement

June 12, 2008|David Haldane

The former finance director and chief investment officer of Soka University of America has pleaded guilty to federal charges of embezzling nearly $1.8 million in university funds, authorities said Wednesday.

Kiyoshi Hatanaka, 52, faces up to 10 years in federal prison at his sentencing Aug. 25.

As the school's financing director from 1999 to 2006, prosecutors say, Hatanaka transferred the money from university banking and investment accounts to accounts he had created at California Bank and Trust. He then withdrew the funds for his personal use.

Soka discovered the embezzlement after suspicious activity was reported to it by the bank. Hatanaka has agreed to make full restitution, officials said.

-- David Haldane

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