Lihu‘e woman sentenced to five years for fraud, theft
LIHU‘E — A Lihu‘e woman was sentenced to a five-year prison sentence Wednesday in 5th Circuit Court.
Staci Lynn Gonsalves, 41, appeared in court for three cases involving 18 charges ranging from identity and credit card theft, fraud and forgery involving credit cards.
Judge Kathleen N.A. Watanabe, said that a lengthy criminal record, including five prior felonies for similar offenses, offered the court no option but to sentence the defendant to a felony prison term.
State Public Defender Christian Enright said that Gonsalves has an addiction and the death of a sibling prompted a relapse. Without a source of income, she found money by targeting others through credit card theft.
Several months in jail has allowed the defendant to clean up and express gratitude for sobriety, Enright said.
Gonsalves apologized to the court and said that she would use her time to help do something better with her life.
County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Melinda Mendes said the state recommended the court sentence the defendant to concurrent terms according to the plea bargain.
She said the severity of the charges and the felony record made a five-year prison sentence appropriate.
Gonsalves was sentenced to three concurrent five-year prison terms for five counts of second-degree theft and second-degree forgery, one-year terms for third-degree theft and false statements on a credit card, and 30 days jail for fourth-degree theft. She was also ordered to pay $363 in restitution to one of the accounts.
Gonsalves will be sentenced in two cases involving similar charges Thursday in Chief Judge Randal G.B. Valenciano. The sentence will run concurrent with these charges, according to Watanabe.