Prosecuting Attorney Jay T. Kimura announced today that:
On May 18, 2010, former Pahoa resident Cynthia L. Edwards, 58, was arraigned before Third Circuit Court Judge Greg K. Nakamura on an indictment charging her with one count of theft in the second degree and one count of theft in the first degree. Ms. Edwards pled not guilty and her trial is set for August 16, 2010.
Ms. Edwards allegedly obtained more than $300.00 in food stamps and more than $20,000.00 in supplemental security income payments by deception between 2004 and 2008.
An indictment is an accusation only. Ms. Edwards, who is also known as Cynthia Thomas and Destiny O’Hara, is presumed innocent until proven guilty or acquitted at trial.
On May 18, 2010, Third Circuit Court Judge Glenn S. Hara denied the request by Hilo resident Ann Butterfield, 43, to defer her plea of no contest to one count of theft in the second degree and sentenced her for that offense. Ms. Butterfield was placed on probation for 5 years and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $8,701.00 to the Department of Human Services. Ms. Butterfield was ordered to make monthly payments of $164.00 per month toward restitution and other court ordered fees. She was also ordered to spend 1 year in jail with credit for time that she has already served with the remaining balance stayed so long as she complies with the other terms and conditions of her probation.
Investigation by the Department of Human Services revealed that during 2008, Ms. Butterfield fraudulently obtained $8,701.00 in public assistance benefits by concealing from the Department of Human Services that her minor child was not living in her home.
Criminal investigators from the Hawaii Department of Human Services and special agents from the Social Security Administration’s Office of Inspector General do joint investigations when they receive information that a suspect may have committed fraud in connection with the receipt of welfare benefits and supplemental security income benefits.
Theft in the first degree is a class “B” felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a ﬁne of up to $25,000. Theft in the second degree is a class “C” felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a ﬁne of up to $10,000.
Every year, millions of dollars in fraud are investigated and stopped by tips from the public. If you have information concerning possible welfare fraud in Hawaii County, you should call the welfare fraud hotline at (808) 933-8899.
If you have information concerning possible social security fraud, go to the Social Security Administration OIG hotline at www.ssa.gov/oig/hotline/index…. and fill out a fraud hotline form, write to the Social Security Fraud Hotline, P.O. Box 17768, Baltimore, Maryland 21235, send a fax to (410) 597-0118, or call 1-800-269- 0271 between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. weekdays, Eastern Standard time.