Welfare fraud nets woman prison term
The convict used a stolen identity to obtain benefits
HILO » Circuit Judge Glenn Hara acknowledged that Victoria Gabriella Donnelly-Korondi did not live a lavish lifestyle. She did not even own a car.
But in 17 years, using a stolen identity, she stole $292,527.23 in welfare benefits from the state of Hawaii.
Hara sentenced Donnelly-Korondi, 54, to 10 years in prison Tuesday for theft of the money and for identity theft. She was also ordered to repay all the money. She entered a guilty plea to the two charges in November.
Donnelly-Korondi was using the name Karen L. Johnston when she was arrested last year, but authorities learned that the real Johnston died in 1977 in a car accident in Idaho.
Donnelly-Korondi held a Swiss passport under the hyphenated name, but Deputy Prosecutor Rick Damerville told the judge Tuesday that authorities still are not sure that it is her real name.
They did determine that she was not a U.S. citizen and therefore ineligible for welfare.
The amount she stole was adjusted slightly downward from a previous figure because some of the money was for her son, who is a U.S. citizen.
A panel of psychologists determined last year that she was fit to stand trial, although questions arose about her mental state because of some of her comments. She claimed to speak to a set of brass objects and that they spoke back to her.
Judge Hara commented that her life read like a novel and that she appeared to be unable to separate fact from fiction.