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Former financial adviser sentenced to 24 days for defrauding elderly

By Gregg K. Kakesako

LAST UPDATED: 2:03 a.m. HST, Jul 4, 2013

A 32-year-old former financial adviser was sentenced Wednesday to 24 days in jail for stealing nearly $40,000 from two elderly clients over a seven-month period to pay off gambling debts last year.

Circuit Judge Richard Perkins sentenced Scott Akashi to spend two days a month in jail for the next three months.

In April, Akashi pleaded no contest to 11 counts of second-degree theft.

Perkins rejected a state recommendation that Akashi, who was fired by John Hancock Financial Network after the theft was reported, serve at least one year in jail.

Perkins also rejected a plea by Akashi’s attorney, Richard Sing, that the defendant’s conviction be stricken from his record if he stayed out of trouble for a year.

Perkins placed Akashi on probation for five years and he was ordered to do 300 hours of community service beginning Aug. 1.

Michele Beckett said her grandmother, 88-year-old Lily Ching, gave Akashi $30,000 over a seven-month period because she trusted him.

She described his sentence as “fair,” adding that her intention has always been to bring Akashi’s name to the public.

The other victim, 90-year-old Hiroichi Koza, also said that his “main concern was to prevent him (Akashi) from doing something to other people.”

The state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs said Akashi promised them higher returns on their investments and even drove Ching to the bank to cash her checks. Instead of investing the money, the state said Akashi pocketed it for his own use.

The state said it got word of what was going on after Beckett noticed that her grandmother had a new checking account from which she wrote checks to Akashi.

Akashi’s parents in Hilo have reimbursed Ching $30,000 and another $10,000 to Koza.

Perkins said he imposed the jail term since he wanted to ensure that Akashi has learned something from the crime he has committed.

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