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FBI: Community and business leader ran $1.4M scam

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 6:05 p.m. HST, Mar 29, 2013

A 38-year-old business and community leader, who unsuccessfully ran for state House in 2010, has agreed to plead guilty to operating a $1.4 million Ponzi scheme in which he allegedly swindled 29 Hawaii families.

Jason Pascua  promised investors guaranteed returns of 25 percent to 50 percent for investments in Honolulu and Las Vegas concert and nightclub promotion events, the FBI said in an e-mail. But the concert and nightclub business was nonexistent and  instead of putting on concerts and promotions, Pascua spent the money on his personal expenses, the FBI said.

Some early investors received returns, but the money came from other investors and not from concert promotions, the FBI said.

“Many of the alleged victims in this case have been financially ruined from their decision to invest in the defendant’s program,” said FBI Special Agent Tom Simon.

Pascua served as president of the Filipino Chamber of Commerce and ran as a Democrat for a Kaneohe House seat in 2010.

Pascua, now living in Arizona, negotiated a surrender to federal authorities in May. He is scheduled to be arraigned and enter a guilty plea May 23 in federal court.

“The past four years have seen an epidemic of Ponzi schemes plaguing the Hawaii economy. Hopefully, this latest case will serve as a lesson to the people of Hawaii to investigate before they invest,” Simon said.

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