Woman gets chance to keep theft off her record

The Maui News

WAILUKU — After making a $10,000 payment toward restitution, a Napili woman was given a chance to keep a felony theft conviction off her record in a welfare fraud case.

Noelle Rodriguez-Furtado, 33, had pleaded no contest to first-degree theft.

She was charged after receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamp, benefits from November 2011 to August 2013, said Deputy Prosecutor Justine Hura.

“She failed to report her income, which was over $112,000,” Hura said.

The state Department of Human Services investigated, she said.

“This is notable because the defendant was making a very good income, and there was no need for her to take this money, which society provides to people who are in need of this kind of assistance,” Hura said.

A plea agreement between the defense and prosecution recommended a deferral and no additional jail for Rodriguez-Furtado if she paid $10,000 in restitution before her sentencing.

Defense attorney Ben Lowenthal said that Rodriguez-Furtado had met the obligation and was a good candidate for the deferral.

“It’s not too often we see so many letters of support,” he said. “She is a very good nurse.

“She’s going to do great.”

Hura said it was “unclear why exactly it was that she felt entitled to this.”

“It is something that the state views as stealing as well as shameful,” Hura said. “She’s taking from probably very similar people she’s trying to help in her profession.”

Second Circuit Judge Joseph Cardoza followed the plea agreement in sentencing Rodriguez-Furtado. 

She can keep the conviction off her record if she follows court requirements for the next five years. She was ordered to pay $21,296 in restitution.