Man gets 15 years in identity thefts
Jonathan Saatkamp stole the identities of five people to finance a drug habit
A 28-year-old man convicted of multiple identity-theft offenses, including forging checks stolen from a prominent Honolulu attorney, was sentenced yesterday to 15 years in prison.
Circuit Judge Richard Pollack noted the significant harm Jonathan Saatkamp brought upon the community and granted the state's request to have him serve five- and 10-year terms back to back for 55 separate felony offenses.
While Saatkamp has an addiction to crystal methamphetamine, Pollack said his conduct went far beyond supporting a drug habit.
Saatkamp was on probation for 14 felony property theft offenses when he embarked on another crime spree earlier this year by breaking into businesses and cars and stealing people's personal information.
He assumed five people's identities, forged checks and withdrawal slips, and removed money from their accounts "to finance his lifestyle and drug habit," Deputy Prosecutor Chris Van Marter said.
Defense attorney Louis Ching argued that the state has made Saatkamp a poster child for identity theft by blowing the number of charges "out of proportion."
For example, Saatkamp was charged with forgery, identity theft and theft for each check that he forged and cashed, he said.
And while identity theft is a serious crime and causes much inconvenience, it is not a violent crime and Saatkamp is not a violent individual, Ching said.
"While on the streets, he was doing anything to survive, so he felt OK taking 10 to $12,000," he said.
Putting someone like Saatkamp, who has never been in Halawa Correctional Facility, in the high-security prison would be "overreacting and truly too much," he said.
Saatkamp, who blamed his conduct on "ice," apologized to his victims, including attorney William McCorriston, saying he never intended to target them. "I just did what I knew how to do."
McCorriston had described earlier how outraged he was at what Saatkamp had done.
Outside the courtroom, McCorriston said Saatkamp's apologies were "too little too late" and that although he feels for a young man who has to go to Halawa, Saatkamp has to reap the consequences of his actions.
Van Marter said it is encouraging that the courts are beginning to treat identity theft as more than just a property crime and imposing prison instead of probation.