March 30, 2016
A state judge sentenced a woman to 10 years in prison for stealing more than $147,500 from Sea Life Park during an 18-month period from 2011 to 2012, Prosecuting Attorney Keith M. Kaneshiro announced.
Maricris Espiritu pleaded no contest in November 2015 to a charge of theft in the first degree. She was sentenced by Circuit Judge Karen Ahn, who also ordered her to pay restitution in full.
In 2011, Espiritu staffed the cash register at Sea Life Park’s Dolphin Encounter, where guest were offered $50 photo packages of themselves swimming and interacting with dolphins.
When a guest bought a package, Espiritu would ring up the sale and hand the guest photos and a receipt. She would do the same with subsequent purchases, but instead of generating a new receipt for each purchase, she would print a duplicate receipt from the first transaction.
During a period from July 15, 2011 to December 4, 2012, she stole cash from more than 1,000 customers. The total losses amounted to $147,527.
Sea Life Park noticed discrepancies between the amounts of cash receipts when Espiritu worked and when she was off. Video surveillance was set up, which showed Espiritu stealing.
Deputy prosecutor Christopher T. Van Marter, chief of the prosecutor’s White Collar Crime Unit, handled the case.