Categorized | Government, News

Hilo man sentenced for insurance fraud

MEDIA RELEASE

Prosecuting Attorney Jay T. Kimura announced today that on December 15, 2010, Third Circuit Court Judge Greg K. Nakamura rejected the request by Hilo resident Justin Kaaihue, 22, to defer his plea of guilty to attempted theft in the second degree and sentenced him for that offense.

Judge Nakamura sentenced Kaaihue to 5 years probation with the special conditions that he serve 1 year in jail with all but 30 days in jail stayed provided he complies with the terms and conditions of his probation and pays restitution in the amount of $21,929.00 to State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company. Kaaihue will begin serving 30 days in jail on January 4, 2011.

Investigations by the Hawaii Fire Department, the Hawaii Police Department, the Special Investigations Unit of State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, and the Insurance Fraud Branch of the State of Hawaii Insurance Division revealed that in September of 2008, Justin Kaaihue purchased a 2008 Toyota Tacoma on credit for $27,000 when he did not realistically have the financial ability to make the payments. The truck was insured with State Farm Mutual.

On April 8, 2009, police and firefighters responded to a report of a motor vehicle fire on Akolea Road. The 2008 Toyota Tacoma was found engulfed in flames. An accelerant had been used to start the fire. Justin Kaaihue falsely reported to the police that his truck had been stolen from his residence a short time before the fire. He subsequently filed a false claim with his insurance company. When confronted with strong evidence developed by investigators, he admitted to arranging to have the truck torched to get out of making payments that he could not afford.

False reports of motor vehicle thefts and intentionally torching motor vehicles to avoid monthly car payments are common forms of insurance fraud. Intentionally burning a motor vehicle can be extremely dangerous to the property, lives of other people, and can result in more serious charges.

Every year, criminal investigators with the Insurance Fraud Branch of the State of Hawaii Insurance Division investigate hundreds of complaints of insurance fraud made to them by insurance companies and members of the public.

The Office of the Prosecuting Attorney wishes to acknowledge the highly professional and diligent investigation done by the Special Investigations Unit of State Farm Mutual Insurance Company. That investigation made the subsequent investigation and prosecution by public servants much easier.

Attempted theft in the second degree is a class “C” felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

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