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7 arrested in probe of alleged gambling in Kailua-Kona

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 1:43 a.m. HST, Nov 29, 2012

Authorities arrested seven people on Hawaii island Wednesday on charges that they operated an illegal gambling business and other offenses, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced.

Arrested were Eric Ford, 45; Barbara Ford, 44; Marlo Banasan, 34; Matthew Phillips, 39; Kendale Limahai, 47; Jonah Yardley, 37; and Trevor Carter, 24.

An eighth defendant, Robert Bland, 35, was arrested earlier in Arizona.

All had been indicted by a federal grand jury in Honolulu on Nov. 20.

The grand jury also charged Eric and Barbara Ford with 25 counts of structuring financial transactions for the purpose of evading federal reporting requirements.

U.S. Attorney Florence Nakakuni said that according to the indictment, Eric Ford operated an illegal gambling business from at least November 2009 until Nov. 20, 2012 out of a water company in Kailua-Kona.

The indictment alleges that the gambling operation consisted of sports betting and various gambling events, such as 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.

The case resulted from an investigation initiated by the Hawaii County Police Department’s Criminal Intelligence Unit. FBI and Internal Revenue Service agents participated.

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