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The Honolulu Advertiser

Updated at 7:57 p.m., Friday, November 24, 2006

Puna woman gets 10 years in theft, forgery case

Associated Press

HILO — A mother of five minor children who was a member of a counterfeit check ring on the Big Island has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Maggie A. Rodrigues of Puna was already on probation for felony shoplifting when she cashed the bogus checks at retail stores and financial institutions in late 2005.

As a result, her probation was revoked and she was sentenced to five years for shoplifting and five years for multiple counts of theft and forgery.

Rodrigues, 29, had asked Circuit Judge Glenn Hara for the sentences to run concurrently. But Hara denied the request Wednesday and ordered the sentences to run consecutively.

Rodrigues was involved with more than 10 other people in a scheme to defraud residents, retailers and financial institutions by creating and passing counterfeit checks, Hawai'i County Prosecuting Attorney Jay Kimura said today.

Some members of the ring stole financial information from mailboxes and during burglaries, with holders used computer software to create counterfeit checks written on the accounts of victims, he said.