QUESTION: What ever happened to infamous Ponzi schemer Ron Rewald, whose fraud case dominated Hawaii headlines in the mid-1980s?
ANSWER: Rewald fancifully used kamaaina names to create his investment firm "Bishop, Baldwin, Rewald, Dillingham and Wong." Through the firm, he bilked about 400 people out of more than $22 million.
He spent much of the money to pay for a lavish East Oahu home, limos and private schooling for his children.
When a television reporter broke the story that investigators were looking into Rewald in 1983, he tried to kill himself by slicing his wrists in a Waikiki hotel.
During his trial, the case took a bizarre turn when Rewald claimed his investment company was a CIA front.
The allegations of a CIA cover-up caught the national media’s attention, which sparked a legal battle between the CIA and ABC News.
The CIA complained to the Federal Communications Commission that ABC deliberately distorted its news broadcast, but the FCC later rejected that complaint.
In Rewald’s case, an angry judge sentenced him to 80 years in federal prison in 1985. He was released on parole from the Federal Correctional Institution on Terminal Island in California in June 1995.
He wasn’t eligible for parole until October 2015, but was released early, possibly because of a back injury.
Following his release, Rewald lived in Los Angeles and reported to his probation officer in Studio City. The probation office closed his case in 2000.
Rewald is currently the director of operations of a talent and literary agency, Agency for the Performing Arts, in Beverly Hills. APA also has offices in New York City and Nashville.
Reached by phone in Beverly Hills, Rewald declined to comment, saying the media had done enough damage to his reputation already.