Living lavishly on welfare?
By JENNIFER SINCO KELLEHER
HONOLULU — A Waikiki man accused of stealing more than $200,000 in government assistance despite having a sailboat, a Mercedes-Benz and an inheritance will have to wait a bit longer to see if a judge will release him from a federal detention center.
A criminal complaint filed in court last week alleges Vaughn Sherwood, 66, collected welfare cash payments, food stamps, housing assistance and student financial aid under stolen identities as well as his own.
His detention hearing was scheduled for Tuesday but postponed until Thursday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Ron Johnson said.
Sherwood was a welfare recipient who also received medical assistance and food stamps under his real name from May 1988 to January 1999 and then again from July 2004 until recently, according to the complaint.
“Furthermore, investigators have learned that the subject owns or owned a sailboat docked at Ala Wai Yacht Harbor, Yamaha Jetboat and a Mercedes Benz S420 automobile,” the complaint states.
According to the complaint, he inherited $230,597 when his father died in Pennsylvania in 1997 and $130,257 when his mother died in 2006.
He continued to receive government assistance without reporting the money to the state, the document says.
In 2007, he claimed he had “$20 in cash on hand and $543 in a checking account at Central Pacific Bank,” according to the affidavit signed by FBI Special Agent Tom Simon.
Sherwood also enrolled as a college student under multiple false identities and received student financial aid, the document says.
Court records show Sherwood 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.
During a search of his condominium, agents said they found two rifles and four handguns, which he was not allowed to possess.
He is being held at the Honolulu Detention Center.
Sherwood’s attorney, Marcus Sierra, declined to comment before the detention hearing.
The maximum penalty for government theft is 10 years in prison.
Follow Jennifer Sinco Kelleher at http://www.twitter.com/JenHapa.
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