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Former community leader pleads guilty in Ponzi scheme

By Nelson Daranciang

POSTED: 04:34 p.m. HST, May 23, 2013

A former state House candidate from Kaneohe admitted in U.S. District Court this afternoon to collecting more than $1.4 million from friends and family members in what the government says was a Ponzi scheme.

Jason Minoru Pascua, 39, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud for accepting a $68,930 wire transfer from an “investor.” He faces a maximum 20-year prison term at sentencing in September. He will also have to pay back all the money he took from his victims.

The government says Pascua told his “investors” that he was going to use their money in his concert and nightclub promotion business and promised them returns of 25 to 50 percent. He instead used money from new investors to pay off older investors and on his personal expenses, the government says.

Pascua unsuccessfully challenged incumbent Ken Ito for the state House’s 48th District seat in the 2010 Democratic primary elections. He is a former president and director of the Filipino Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii.

He now lives in Las Vegas.

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