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Self-styled ‘master of disguise’ facing 10-year prison term in bank theft case


  • Tyler Adams, a self-styled "master of disguise," defrauded two Hawaii banks out of more than $120,000 from 2007 to 2008, city prosecutors say.
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Tyler Adams, the self-styled “master of disguise” who defrauded two Hawaii banks out of more than $120,000 from October 2007 to June 2008, pleaded no contest today to two counts of first-degree theft and one count of second-degree theft, Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Keith M. Kaneshiro announced in a news release issued this afternoon.

Adams faces an automatic 10-year prison term. His sentencing is set for Dec. 17 before  Judge Rom Trader.

Adams, who used many aliases and disguises, was indicted by an Oahu grand jury in 2009. After arriving in Hawaii in 2007, he created five fictitious businesses and opened accounts at Bank of Hawaii and American Savings Bank. Adams then used fake checks to deposit large amounts of money into the accounts and convinced the banks to make the funds immediately available to him. Also, he stole a $5,000 diamond ring from Costco.

While in Hawaii, Adams was also known as Kevin Kennedy and Lance Irwin and Michael Whittman, both of whom were supposedly students at the University of Hawaii law school.

Adams was arrested in 2009 in California, where he was being sought in a $3 million fraud case in San Diego. He is currently serving a 14-year sentence in California. When he finishes that term, he will be brought to Hawaii to serve time here.

In the news release, Kaneshiro said: “You can create false identities, you can try to run and hide, but if you commit a crime in Honolulu, we will find you and bring back to face the consequences.” 

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