Alicia Maluafiti pleaded not guilty in U.S District Court on Wednesday, denying charges brought by federal prosecutors that she improperly procured drugs for the veterinary clinic she used to run.

A longtime lobbyist and former political candidate, Maluafiti is the founder and board president for the nonprofit Poi Dogs & Popoki, which operated a spay and neuter program.

Alicia Maluafiti made her first appearance in federal court on Wednesday.

In court records, the feds say Maluafiti continued to order controlled substances for the clinic using the Drug Enforcement Administration registration of a veterinarian who used to work there even after he’d stopped working for the clinic and moved back to the mainland. The vet told the feds he was not aware Maluafiti was doing this and had not given her permission.

Maluafiti is charged with 27 counts of using a DEA registration issued to another person and, if convicted, could serve years in prison.

A trial was tentatively scheduled for April 24 before Judge Jill Otake but is likely to be pushed to a later date due to scheduling conflicts, Judge Rom Trader said in court on Wednesday.

In an interview last week, Maluafiti said she had permission from the veterinarian to continue ordering drugs for the clinic under his name. She said the substances were used strictly on animals in the organization’s effort to reign in Oahu’s population of stray animals.

The government did not make a motion to detain Maluafiti. She will remain free on a $25,000 unsecured bond, Trader said.

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