Reduced deposit in an identity theft case

A 34-year-old man from Pahoa charged with more than a dozen property offenses received a significant reduction in his bail during his initial court appearance on Monday.

Hilo District Judge Jeffrey Hawk reduced Keaau K. Gomes’ bond from $ 141,000 to $ 20,000 despite the objection of Assistant District Attorney Kevin Soong.

Gomes’ attorney, Deputy Public Defender Jonas Krave, had requested that Gomes be released under judicial supervision without a monetary bond or bail reduction.

Gomes is charged with unauthorized control of a stolen vehicle, 13 counts of possession of confidential personal information and driving without a license.

All charges except driving without a license are Class C felonies carrying a maximum prison sentence of five years if convicted.

Hawk ordered Gomes to return for a preliminary hearing at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Gomes was arrested on Ainaloa Boulevard in Pahoa around 1.35 p.m. Friday after a Puna patrol officer stopped a Ford he believed was recently reported as a stolen rental vehicle, according to court documents filed by the police.

The Ford emblem on all four wheels had been repainted, as had the vehicle’s front badge, according to the documents. The rear badge had been removed.

In addition, all of the passenger side windows and the rear windshield of the vehicle had been coated in what police described as an “aftermarket blackout style tint”, with documents indicating that police believe it was. was done “in an apparent effort to alter the true identity.”

Gomes was apprehended without incident, as was a passenger, Cherish Torres, 18.

According to the documents, a bag containing a white crystalline substance was in the passenger seat between Torres’ legs, and a cylindrical pipe with white residue was found on the floor behind Torres. She was charged with unauthorized entry into a vehicle and possession of methamphetamine.

Gomes – who has three previous felony convictions – told police he borrowed the vehicle from a friend, but police said the Ford was reported stolen on September 21 from Hertz, an official told the police that the vehicle had not been rented and that no one was authorized to drive it, according to the documents. The estimated value of the Ford is $ 13,000.

Documents indicate that a search for the vehicle revealed documents containing the confidential personal information of others, including a personal signed First Hawaiian Bank check for $ 20, a Visa Bank of Hawaii debit card, a United Wholesale mortgage document. , Hawaiian Electric Co. invoice, West Hawaii Medical Group statement, Terminix billing statement, mortgage statement, Term Care Partners documents, Bank of Hawaii change of address notice , a check from the Bank of Hawaii that was believed to have been sent to Hawaiian Electric Co., and documents from Ally Financial Services.

All documents contain account numbers, according to police, none of the people to whom the documents belong know Gomes or Torres, and all victims are ready to prosecute.

Gomes denied having any knowledge of the documents in the vehicle, police said.

He remained in custody Monday night at the Hawaii Community Correctional Center.

Email John Burnett at [email protected]

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