POSTED: 8:50 a.m. HST, Jan 21, 2011
LAST UPDATED: 8:54 a.m. HST, Jan 21, 2011
Former federal fugitive Rachelle Griggs was to appear in federal court this morning to face wire and mail fraud.
Her husband, Perry Griggs, faces similar charges here and remains in custody on the mainland.
A federal grand jury charged the couple in October with mail and wire fraud for allegedly operating a Ponzi scheme beginning while Perry Griggs was serving federal prison time in Las Vegas. Perry Griggs was serving an eight-year federal prison sentence for a California Ponzi scheme when he and his wife persuaded other inmates to invest in their Aloha Trading Co. for guaranteed returns.
Griggs claimed he was a wealthy, expert commodity futures trader serving time for tax offenses when in fact he was serving time for wire fraud and money laundering and was never registered as a commodity trader.
The couple persuaded Hawaii inmates and their families to refinance their mortgages and empty their retirement savings accounts to invest in Aloha Trading, prosecutors said.
They also allegedly helped Kapua Keolanui start Paradise Trading solicit investors in Hawaii to send the money to Aloha Trading. Keolanui sent $663,000 she collected in Hawaii to the couple, according to court records. In October, she pled guilty to one count of wire fraud.
Perry Griggs was released from federal prison in Sept. 2008 and lived in Las Vegas with his wife until they both disappeared in January 2010. They were arrested Dec. 16 in Kingman, Ariz. after a nationwide manhunt.
The FBI used websites, national news coverage and "electronic highway billboards" to find the couple.
Rachelle Griggs is being held in the Federal Detention Center here. Her husband's appearance before a federal judge here will be held at a later date.