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FBI says alleged welfare cheat scammed Hawaii taxpayers for 14 years

The FBI is accusing a Hawaii man of making an art form of scamming local and federal taxpayers during the past 14 years, taking numerous government benefits he was not entitled to receive.

Vaughn G. Sherwood, 66, was arrested by FBI agents Oct. 18 in Honolulu.

Sherwood, who had inherited $360,000 from his parents, owned a sailboat, a Yamaha Jetboat, and drove a Mercedes-Benz S420, allegedly defrauded several government programs under his own identity and stolen identities, according to an affidavit filed with the U.S. District Court by FBI Special Agent Tom Simon.

The FBI affidavit alleges Sherwood received welfare cash and food stamps for nine years from the state Department of Human Services after claiming to be homeless. Using a fraudulent birth certificate, various Social Security cards and different names, the affidavit said Sherwood obtained $6,500 in welfare cash payments, $5,800 in food stamps and $24,000 in medical benefits.

Court records also allege Sherwood secured $109,000 in Section 8 housing assistance during a 14-year period from the City and County of Honolulu and obtained $22,000 in tuition assistance at Kapiolani Community College. Sherwood also allegedly enrolled at the Honolulu Community College and the University of Hawaii-Manoa using multiple false identities to register for online courses. He allegedly used federal student tuition assistance to pay undergraduate and master’s degree tuition at the three University of Hawaii campuses, court records show.

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