Former beauty queen and admitted identity thief Susan E. Shaw said she was taking responsibility for her actions and not making any excuses.
"There were choices that led me here," she said at her sentencing in state court yesterday.
Shaw, 37, had pleaded guilty to 140 charges of theft, identity theft, credit card theft, forgery, money laundering, unauthorized possession of confidential information and using a computer to commit her crimes involving 23 Oahu residents and seven credit card companies.
Yesterday, she acknowledged using the personal information of just eight individuals to fraudulently obtain 15 credit cards.
Circuit Judge Dexter Del Rosario sentenced Shaw to 20 years in prison, the mandatory penalty for the most serious of the charges: first-degree theft and using a computer to commit separate crimes. Del Rosario also ordered Shaw to pay $68,235 restitution to the credit card companies.
The prosecutor had asked Del Rosario to impose a 30-year prison term. Deputy Prosecutor Chris Van Marter said the 140 charges involved a loss of more than $200,000 but that not all of the victims asked for restitution. He also said there were more than 23 individual victims whose personal information Shaw stole.
Shaw never said in court how she got the personal information of her victims, which included their names, addresses, Social Security numbers and dates of birth.
Her lawyer, Myles Breiner, said Shaw did reveal how she got them but said he could not talk about it.
However, in legal documents submitted for yesterday’s hearing, Van Marter said Honolulu police believe Shaw obtained the personal information from files owned by a mortgage company.
The Honolulu police lieutenant who investigated and arrested Shaw said all the victims had recently applied for a mortgage.
Shaw’s boyfriend, with whom she and her children lived in Kailua, was employed by the mortgage company. He has not been charged with any crimes.
Shaw was the 1992 Miss Hawaii International.
Police said Shaw frequently traveled to and from the mainland and maintained a rental condominium in Manhattan Beach, Calif.
When Manhattan Beach police searched Shaw’s condominium, they said they found personal information of 40 to 50 Oahu residents and hotel and airline gift cards purchased under the names of those people.
Van Marter said Shaw purchased the gift cards using fraudulently obtained credit cards before the victims and the credit card companies could cancel the credit cards.