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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted at 11:47 a.m., Friday, April 7, 2006

Bookkeeper guilty of forgery, stealing

Advertiser Courts Writer

A 32-year-old bookkeeper who went missing after his Mercedes-Benz was found near Makapu'u Lookout last year was found guilty this morning after he decided not to contest charges that he forged checks and stole more than $190,000.

Kenneth J. Peters Jr. of Salt Lake pleaded no contest to forgery, credit card fraud, theft and money laundering charges related to two companies where he worked as a bookkeeper.

The charges carry maximum terms of five and 10 years in prison.

Circuit Judge Virginia Crandall scheduled sentencing for June 19.

Peters and his attorney Don Wilkerson left the courtroom without commenting.

City Deputy Prosecutor Chris Van Marter said he will ask for a prison term of at least 10 years because Peters has a 1994 second-degree theft conviction on the Big Island.

Peters was under criminal investigation for the offenses when his car was discovered March 22 last year on a cliffside, triggering an extensive search for him. He was found three days later at Honolulu International Airport on his way back from Bangkok, Thailand.

At the time, police said Peters may have staged his disappearance because of the investigation.