A woman who fled from Japan to the United States before being arrested in Overland Park, Kansas, has pleaded guilty to stealing the equivalent of nearly $100,000 at a U.S. Naval base in Japan.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, and Tom Larson, acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, made the announcement.
Cynthia Lopez Creseni, who is from the Philippines, pleaded guilty on Friday, Aug. 18, to theft of public money for stealing the equivalent of $99,068 from the Morale Welfare and Recreation Center at the Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan.
According to admissions made in connection with the plea, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) was notified about the theft of approximately $85,500 and ¥ 1,620,000 (aggregate value of $99,068) from a safe assigned to Creseni at the MWR cash cage. Creseni, who had worked at the base in various positions since 2000, served as the lead cashier of the game-slot room at the time of the theft.
Creseni officially reported the funds missing from her assigned safe after returning from a vacation to the United States in February 2015. Creseni, who denied taking the money, was placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation.
Interviews of Creseni’s co-workers revealed that she might have had some financial problems. When investigators attempted to interview Creseni at her residence in Japan, they learned that she had vacated her home, sold it and moved to the Philippines. Efforts were made to locate Creseni in the Philippines, but were unsuccessful. Agents learned that Creseni entered the United States on July 15, 2015.
On Jan. 24 of this year Creseni was located in Overland Park, Kansas, and arrested by federal agents for immigration violations for overstaying her visa.
Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 4, 2018.
This case is being investigated by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service with assistance from Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). Sasha N. Rutizer of the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section, and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Kim Moore of the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Western District of Missouri are prosecuting the case.