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Two indictments in theft, meth cases


Tribune-Herald staff writer

A Hilo grand jury has returned separate indictments against a Hilo woman accused of stealing more than $3,000 from a booster club for Hilo High School boys’ basketball and a Mountain View man accused of dealing crystal methamphetamine.

In the first indictment, 21-year-old Tysha L. Vesperas-Saniatan was charged with second-degree theft, second-degree forgery, fourth-degree theft and attempted third-degree theft.

A bench warrant maintains her bail at $4,750, which was posted after she was arrested on Oct. 24, but also indicates that Vesperas-Saniatan can be released on her own recognizance after re-arrest on the indictment.

The indictment lists the victims in both the second-degree theft case and the attempted third-degree theft case as the “Friends of Vikings Boys Basketball.”

A police spokeswoman said a 44-year-old woman reported that $3,208.84 in cash and four checks went missing sometime between Oct. 16 and 22. Deputy Prosecutor Jason Skier said Monday that the booster club was the victim and the woman reporting the theft “had some sort of fiduciary responsibility” to the club.

Hilo High School Athletic Director Sondra Lundvick declined to comment on the case on Monday. Lundvick, who is in her first year with the school, said she doesn’t know who is in charge of the booster club.

The same 44-year-old woman also reported a check and about $25 or $30 in cash taken the same dates, the police spokeswoman said. The indictment lists the victim in the fourth-degree theft charge as JoVonne Chamizo.

The second-degree forgery charge is for attempting to “make, complete, alter or endorse” a check for $120 on Oct. 22, the document states.

The bench warrant orders Vesperas-Saniatan to have no contact with Chamizo, no drugs or alcohol and to submit to random urinalysis testing.

A search of court records turned up no prior criminal convictions for Vesperas-Saniatan, but indicated that she has a preliminary hearing scheduled for Thursday in Hilo District Court on the current charges. That hearing will not be held due to the indictment. Vesperas-Saniatan will appear for arraignment and plea before Hilo Circuit Judge Glenn Hara after being re-arrested.

Second-degree theft and second-degree forgery are both Class C felonies punishable by up to five years in prison. Attempted third-degree theft is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail, while fourth-degree theft is a petty misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail.

The second indictment charges 42-year-old Benny William Gordon IV with attempted first-degree methamphetamine trafficking, second-degree promotion of a dangerous drug, first-degree promotion of a detrimental drug, two drug paraphernalia charges and being a felon in possession of a firearm and/or ammunition.

According to the police spokeswoman, a search warrant was served Oct. 29 on Gordon’s home on Road 2 in the Orchid Isle Estates subdivision. Officers allegedly found 25 packages of crystal meth totaling 20.6 grams packaged for sale, a little more than a pound-and-a-half of marijuana, glass smoking pipes and a 9-millimeter handgun and ammunition.

A bench warrant maintained his bail at $66,000, and he is currently free on bond. It also orders him to not use or possess, drugs or alcohol or drug paraphernalia and to submit to random urinalysis.

Attempted first-degree methamphetamine trafficking is a Class A felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Second-degree promotion of a dangerous drug is a Class B felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. First-degree promotion of a detrimental drug is a Class C felony punishable by up to five years in prison,

A search of court records turned up 24 convictions for Gordon, including nine for felonies. He’s been convicted of forgery, theft, attempted theft, auto theft, fraudulent use of a credit card, escape and a firearms charge.

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