POSTED: 11:44 a.m. HST, Jan 16, 2013
LAST UPDATED: 11:47 a.m. HST, Jan 16, 2013
The leader of a sophisticated identity theft ring responsible for more than half of the ID theft complaints on Oahu in 2010 is going to prison for at least eight years, unless the federal government deports him earlier.
A state judge sentenced Pyong “Peter” Pak this morning to 20 years in prison for theft, ID theft, drug and drug paraphernalia possession.
Circuit Judge Colette Garibaldi ordered Pak to serve at least eight years of that sentence behind bars before he can be eligible for parole because he has prior felony convictions. The Hawaii Paroling Authority can set a higher minimum.
It was Pak’s exploits in those earlier convictions that prompted state lawmakers to approve Hawaii identity theft laws.
State and city prosecutors had asked Garibaldi to sentence Pak to 30 years in prison and order him to serve at least 13 years and four months of the sentence behind bars before he can seek parole.
The federal government can deport Pak, a South Korean national, at any time.
The state says Pak was one of the leaders of a 14-member ID theft ring that victimized at least 256 Hawaii residents between May 1, 2010 and Jan. 27, 2011 and stole an estimated $218,500. Ring members obtained the personal information of their victims by breaking into their homes, vehicles and places of work, stealing their mail, rummaging through their trash or by buying the information from others who did the same.