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Woman sentenced to four years for bilking Hawaii inmates

By Nelson Daranciang

LAST UPDATED: 12:01 a.m. HST, Aug 4, 2011


The lawyer for admitted swindler Rachelle Griggs asked a federal judge to give her a break at sentencing Wednesday because she said it was Griggs’ husband who was the brains of a Ponzi scheme that bilked nearly $2 million from Hawaii prison inmates serving time with him on the mainland, and their families.

“She didn’t have the sophistication and knowledge to do it,” said Salina Althof, assistant federal public defender.

U.S. District Judge David Ezra disagreed. He said the ruse of gaining her victims’ trust through religion was perfectly tailored for the people Griggs and her husband targeted and stole from.

Ezra sentenced Griggs, 43, to four years in prison for mail and wire fraud and ordered her to repay her victims $1,939,802. He is scheduled to sentence Griggs’ husband, Perry Jay Griggs, Friday.

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