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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Thursday, April 3, 2003

Woman sentenced for helping drug ring

By David Waite
Advertiser Courts Writer

The former co-owner of a nonprofit company that helped Hawai'i residents resolve their credit problems was sentenced yesterday to a year in prison after pleading guilty in July 2001 to a federal money laundering conspiracy charge.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Thomas said Yvonne Haxton admitted converting large sums made up of $10 and $20 bills into a smaller number of $100 bills so it would be easier for a ring of men importing heroin from Mexico to Hawai'i to take the cash to Mexico.

Haxton and her husband, Michael Haxton, formerly owned and managed Hawai'i Credit Counseling Services. Michael Haxton is to be sentenced Monday on the same charge.

Federal Judge Susan Mollway praised Yvonne Haxton for turning her life around by kicking her drug habit and helping others do the same. But Mollway said she felt it was necessary to impose at least some prison time for Haxton as a form of punishment.

She ordered Haxton to serve four months in jail, probably at the Federal Detention Center near the airport, followed by an additional 240 days in jail to be served during three-day stays on weekends.

Haxton's lawyer, Sam King Jr., had sought to keep Haxton from going to prison, saying it would likely do her no good and would be a loss to others whom Haxton is helping fight drug addiction problems.

Haxton was also fined $5,000 and was told to turn herself in to start serving the jail term on May 19.