A federal judge has sentenced a former public official to 46 months behind bars on Tuesday for embezzlement and bribery.

In October, Stacy Higa — a former Hawaii County councilman and candidate for mayor as well as CEO of the Big Island’s only public access station, Na Leo TV — admitted to embezzling more than $38,000 from AmeriCorps and offering a bribe in return for grants under coronavirus aid.

Officials said the 58-year-old spent the embezzled funds on personal expenses, including paying for about $20,000 of elective aesthetic dental care.

“Stacy Higa exploited his position of trust to steal AmeriCorps funds from vulnerable communities and schemed to deny his neighbors money needed for pandemic relief,” said Inspector General Jeffrey of AmeriCorps.

The Department of Justice said Higa will be placed on three years of supervised release following his prison term. He will also be required to pay back the money he stole and perform 200 hours of community service.

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