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Federal Grand Jury Indicts Eight In Connection With Big Island Gambling Business

Vida G. Bottom, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Harry S. Kubojiri, Police Chief of the Hawaii Police Department, Kenneth J. Hines, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, and Florence T. Nakakuni, United States Attorney for the District of Hawaii, announced that law enforcement officers today arrested persons on the Big Island indicted by a federal grand jury in Honolulu on November 20, 2012, for operating an illegal gambling business and conspiring to do so.

Picture courtesy of KHON 2 News

Charged with those offenses are:

  • Eric Ford, age 45
  • Marlo Banasan, 34
  • Matthew Phillips, 39
  • Kendale Limahai, 47
  • Robert Bland, 35
  • Jonah Yardley, 37
  • Trevor Carter, 24

A Slot Machine shop in Hilo

The grand jury also charged Eric Ford and an eighth defendant, Barbara Ford, age 44, with 25 counts of structuring financial transactions for the purpose of evading federal reporting requirements, which include the filing of a Currency Transaction Report with the IRS by a financial institution in regard to any currency transaction over $10,000. All seven of the Big Island residents, everyone except Bland, now a resident of Arizona, were arrested today.

United States Attorney Nakakuni said that according to the indictment, Eric Ford operated an illegal gambling business from at least November 2009, until November 20, 2012, out of a water company business located in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. The indictment alleges that the gambling operation consisted of sports betting and various gambling events, to include poker games and craps games, and used an offshore gaming website. The six other defendants, not including Barbara Ford, are alleged to have assisted Eric Ford in the taking of bets, collection of gambling debts, and payment of gambling winnings.

A Slot Machine shop in Hilo

If convicted of the gambling and conspiracy charges, each defendant faces a maximum term of imprisonment of five years on each count. Each of the structuring charges also carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison. The charges in the indictment are merely accusations and each defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

The case resulted from an investigation initiated by the Hawaii Police Department’s Criminal Intelligence Unit. Through an established partnership among the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Hawaii Police Department, and the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, investigators were able to uncover the breadth of the illegal gambling enterprise. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Nammar is handling the prosecution.

If HB1672 Becomes Law, Tax Evasion Informants Can Receive Monetary Award from State of Hawaii

The House of Representatives today passed a measure through its third reading that would award people who blow the whistle on those who fail to pay their fair share of taxes in the State of Hawaii. HB1672 models the whistle-blower program provided by the Internal Revenue Services.

If the information provided is the basis for a Department of Taxation administrative or judicial action for violations of tax laws, the whistle-blowers could receive 15 – 30 percent of the proceeds collected.

Criteria to receive an award are as follows:

  • In a case dealing with an individual, his or her income must exceed $200,000 for any taxable year subject to action taken by the Department of Taxation.
  • The amount in dispute for an individual taxpayer must exceed $500,000.
  • Information provided to the Department of Taxation is submitted under penalty of perjury.

HB1672 was introduced by Representative Isaac Choy. It will now crossover to the Senate for consideration.

Free Tax Help Offered to Moderate Income and Older Taxpayers

IRS-trained and certified volunteers are ready to help low to moderate income and older taxpayers prepare their returns and claim the EITC they deserve. IRS volunteers believe that preparing an accurate tax return is the most important aspect of providing quality service to taxpayers and have put fundamental steps in place to ensure quality.

Make your appointment today at one of these free tax preparation sites on Hawaii Island :

 

HFS Federal Credit Union

632 Kinoole Street

ONLY on Saturday March 3rd

10:00 am – 3:00pm (last return accepted at 2:00)

BY APPOINTMENT ONLY

Visit:  www.assetshawaii.org to book an appointment

OR Call:  (808) 961-8085

 

HOPE Resource Center

116 Kapiolani Street

ONLY on Saturday – March 3rd and 24th

10:00 am – 3:00pm (last return accepted at 2:00)

BY APPOINTMENT ONLY

Visit:  www.assetshawaii.org to book an appointment

OR Call:  (808) 961-8085

 

North Hawaii Education and Research Center

45-539 Plumeria Street

ONLY on Saturday – March 17

10:00 am – 3:00pm (last return accepted at 2:00)

BY APPOINTMENT ONLY

Visit:  www.assetshawaii.org to book an appointment

OR Call:  (808) 961-8085

 

Kaloko Housing Community Center

Hina Lani Street, Kona

ONLY on Saturday – March 24

10:00 am – 3:00pm (last return accepted at 2:00)

BY APPOINTMENT ONLY

Visit:  www.assetshawaii.org to book an appointment

OR Call:  (808) 961-8085

 

Goodwill Industries of Hawaii, Inc.

74-5599 Luhia Street, Suite F-4

Thursdays – 4:00pm – 7:00pm

BY APPOINTMENT ONLY

Call (808) 430-0608

Start:  2/02 – End: 4/07

 

AARP/IRS Tax Aide Program

Tutu’s House, 64-1032 Mamalahoa Hwy. , Waimea

Monday’s and Fridays – 9:00am – 1:00pm

BY APPOINTMENT ONLY

Call (808) 388-6645

Start:  2/03 – End: 4/16.

For more information or to find a free tax preparation site near you, visit www.hawaiitaxhelp.org, email: info@hawaiitaxhelp.org, or call: 2-1-1 (Aloha United Way Toll Free Helpline).