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Waikiki man faces sentencing for welfare fraud

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 10:10 a.m. HST, May 14, 2014

A Waikiki man who pleaded guilty to stealing food stamps and other government benefits is scheduled to be sentenced in federal court Wednesday.

Kevin Halverson, who was born with the name Vaughn Sherwood, pleaded guilty in February, admitting to using various identities to illegally receive benefits such as medical care and student tuition assistance. He changed his name in 1999.

When he pleaded guilty, he said that even though he has a master's degree in geography from the University of Hawaii, he fraudulently received federal grants and loans to take classes at Kapiolani Community College and for living expenses.

Prosecutors said he didn't disclose assets including a Mercedes-Benz, a sailboat and an inheritance of more than $300,000, which would have made him ineligible for government assistance.

Defense attorney Marcus Sierra has said Halverson didn't live a luxurious life in a "little, dingy apartment." He said that the Mercedes is old and worth only $3,000, the sailboat is 40 years old and the inheritance ran out long ago.

Halverson, 67, also pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm that he wasn't allowed to have because he's a felon. According to court documents, he has felony convictions for possession of narcotic equipment in New Jersey in 1969, assault in Hawaii in 1975 and aggravated assault in Pennsylvania in 1977. Records also show misdemeanor convictions for driving under the influence of liquor in Hawaii in 1982, 1992 and 1996.

He faces up to 10 years in prison for stealing government property, up to two years for identity theft and up to 10 years for the firearms possession. A judge could order him to serve the sentences consecutively.

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