POSTED: 5:00 p.m. HST, May 2, 2014
LAST UPDATED: 7:05 p.m. HST, May 2, 2014
An Oahu grand jury Thursday returned a sealed indictment charging nine people with more than 400 counts of racketeering, promoting gambling, and money laundering in connection with sweepstakes gaming machines.
The indictment did not name the individuals, but attorney Keith Kiuchi said they are his clients and have been involved with the Products Direct Sweepstakes machine.
One of the indicted is Tracy Yoshimura, owner of PJY Enterprises, a distributor of the sweepstakes machines, Kiuchi said. Also indicted were Eugene and Clayton Simeona, who were involved with a store where police seized some of the sweepstakes machines in February 2013. The six other people indicted are clerks at the businesses, Kiuchi said.
"We did not expect this," Kiuchi said by phone. "We're going to vigorously defend against this oppressive indictment."
Kiuchi found out about the indictment after Clayton Simeona was arrested this afternoon. He is arranging for the others to turn themselves in. He said bail for Yoshimura has been set at $250,000. Yoshimura is expected to turn himself in and make bail.
Kiuchi said he believes the indictment was brought by the state Attorney General's Office. However, a spokeswoman for the Attorney General's Office, Anne E. Lopez, said in an email statement that the office was not involved in this matter.
He said that before his client began his business, another of his attorneys presented the business plan to Attorney General's Office, but the office never clarified that the machines were illegal.
Police have seized about 180 of the machines from arcades since September 2012. Several more machines were seized from a store in Aiea on Tuesday. A federal judge ruled on Wednesday that use of the machines constitutes gambling in Hawaii.