Kalaheo man charged with welfare fraud, theft

KALAHEO — A Kalaheo man is facing theft charges after police say he received benefits from the state.

Daniel Joao, 29, is charged with knowingly obtaining or attempting to obtain public assistance benefits he was not entitled to receive and is also charged with second-degree theft from the state of Hawaii of benefits in an amount exceeding $750.

Second-degree theft is a Class C felony and welfare fraud is a misdemeanor.

Because of Joao’s prior criminal history, he is eligible for sentencing as a repeat offender and faces a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of five years, due to him having three prior felony convictions within the past five years, according to a release from the Kauai Police Department.

Joao is also charged as a persistent offender, making him eligible for an extended term of imprisonment of up to 11 years.

He has previously been charged with burglary, criminal trespassing, and theft 2 on separate cases, according to the Hawaii State Judiciary database.

Joao was arrested Monday and is being held in custody at the Kauai Police Department in lieu of $15,000 bail.

“Abuse of public assistance benefits must not be tolerated,” said Justin Kollar, prosecuting

attorney. “My office will vigorously prosecute welfare fraud and theft charges when appropriate.”

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