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Man accused of California fraud indicted in theft from isle banks


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POSTED: Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Prosecutors say a 37-year-old man ripped off $3 million from banks in California through mortgage fraud, had cosmetic surgery to alter his appearance, moved to Oahu and ripped off $130,000 from two Hawaii banks through check kiting.

An Oahu grand jury returned an indictment yesterday charging Tyler Adams with two counts of first-degree theft and one count of second-degree theft.

Adams is in custody in San Diego in lieu of $3 million bail facing mortgage fraud charges, said Chris Van Marter, deputy prosecutor. After Adams appears in court for a preliminary hearing on the charges, he will be extradited to Hawaii to face the theft charges, Van Marter said.

The alleged first-degree theft victims are American Savings Bank and Bank of Hawaii, according to the indictment. The alleged second-degree theft victim is Costco Wholesale.

Van Marter said Adams wrote a bad check to buy a $6,000 diamond ring from Costco.

Adams was born Kevin Schoolcraft in Pennsylvania, Van Marter said. He later changed his name to Kevin Kennedy, then to Tyler Adams. Van Marter said Adams used other names in Hawaii.

His landlord and neighbors knew him as Kevin Kennedy when Adams lived in Kahala with his Russian-born wife in 2007 and 2008. Some of his other aliases are Joshua Smith, Taylor Chase, Lance Irwin and Michael Wittman, according to the indictment.

;[Preview]    Kahala man indicted in identity theft scheme
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Tyler Adams was indicted for stealing $130,000 from local banks.

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When Adams moved to Hawaii in 2007, he registered four fake businesses and a charity with the state and then opened bank accounts for them, Van Marter said. He said Adams then deposited checks into the business accounts from the other fake businesses, then quickly withdrew the money credited to the accounts before the banks realized the checks were no good, usually over a three-day weekend. He ripped off one bank in October 2007, again in December 2007 and a third time in June 2008.

“;So he was able to scam a number of very experienced bank officials with his sophistication, his education. He's very articulate, very bright individual,”; Van Marter said. “;But on the other hand, he's a con man, a sociopath who had no regard for the victims' property or those who might be affected by his criminal activity.”;

Authorities in California arrested Adams after he recently returned to the country, Van Marter said.