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Real estate agent and husband get probation in welfare fraud case

KAILUA-KONA — A real estate agent from Ka‘u, who appeared on HGTV’s “Hawaii Life,” and her husband, who were accused of illegally obtaining welfare benefits, were sentenced to probation and ordered to pay thousands in restitution to the state.

Jene Nichole Green and Charles N. Green III, also known as Trey Green, were sentenced Tuesday by Kona Circuit Judge Melvin H. Fujino. It followed a change of plea Nov. 27, in which each Green, in a plea deal with prosecutors, pleaded no contest to a single count of second-degree theft, a lesser-included offense of initial first-degree theft charge.

The judge ordered each Green to serve four years probation, with conditions that each perform 100 hours of community service; pay $12,812; serve 30 days in jail, with all time suspended; and pay fines and fees of nearly $288.

The judge also granted motions for deferred acceptances of their no contest pleas, meaning if each meets all conditions of their sentence during the next four years, the court shall later dismiss the charge against the defendant.

Hawaii County prosecutors filed the case Sept. 17. A declaration by a state Department of Human Services investigator supporting the charges stated Jene Green wrongfully obtained Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits totaling $27,241 between January 2016 and April of this year by not accurately reporting her true income as a real estate agent.

The investigator said Jene Green reported making just $3,000-$4,000 between Jan. 1, 2015, and April of this year. However, subpoenaed earnings from her employer indicate she was paid $360,158.03 in commissions during that time.

Jene Green holds a real estate license good through December 2020, according to the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs. An investigation initiated in September by the Regulated Industries Complaints Office is ongoing.

Meanwhile, four separate, unrelated welfare fraud cases are making their way through Kona Circuit Court following indictments handed down by a Kona grand jury in early November.

Nani P. Widmer on Nov. 22 pleaded not guilty to first-degree theft and false swearing in an official matter. The state alleges Wildmer unlawfully collected public assistance, or SNAP, benefits totaling more than $20,000. Trial is set for February 2020.

Maricar A. Granadosin pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree theft and false swearing in an official matter. Granadosin is accused by the state of intentionally obtaining more than $20,000 in SNAP benefits. Trial is set for January 2020.

Sandra L. Cordero, charged with one count of first-degree theft for allegedly unlawfully obtaining more than $20,000 in public assistance, or SNAP, benefits, was slated to enter a plea Thursday.

Natasha R. Rein pleaded not guilty Nov. 22 to second-degree theft. The state alleges she unlawfully obtained more than $750 in SNAP benefits. Trial is set for January 2020.

First-degree theft is a Class B felony punishable by up to 10 years incarceration while second-degree theft, a Class C felony, is punishable by up to five years. False swearing is a misdemeanor carrying up to a year behind bars.

Email Chelsea Jensen at cjensen@westhawaiitoday.com.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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