Saturday, July 26, 2014         

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Fireworks imports spark indictment

A Honolulu man has also been accused of evading currency laws

By Gordon Y.K. Pang


A Honolulu man has been indicted by a federal grand jury for transporting 278 cases of fireworks into Hawaii from China — then trying to conceal the imports.

Brandon C. Haleamau, 26, was charged Thursday with three counts of transporting display fireworks without a license, one count of importing display fireworks from China by means of a false declaration, and one charge of structuring financial transactions totaling more than $1.1 million in value to evade federal currency transaction reporting requirements.

The indictment seeks forfeiture of $345,421.70 seized from Haleamau's credit union account, a 2009 Acura sedan, a 2009 Nissan coupe and a 2008 Lexus sedan.

Trial is set for Oct. 26 before Senior U.S. District Judge Helen Gillmor.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said Haleamau received 278 cases of 1.3G-type display fireworks without the proper federal license in 2007 and that he attempted in December 2008 to import from China 1.3G-type display fireworks by falsely declaring them as 1.4G-type consumer fireworks.

Federal law requires a Currency Transaction Report be filed by a financial institution with the Internal Revenue Service for any currency transaction over $10,000, and it is illegal to structure transactions to avoid filing the reports. The indictment alleges that Haleamau structured 283 such transactions.

Haleamau faces a maximum of 10 years in prison on each of the transportation charges, two years on the importation charge and five years on the structuring charge.

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