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Man indicted by federal grand jury in Honolulu on bankruptcy fraud charge

A federal grand jury indicted a Honolulu man yesterday with bankruptcy fraud after he allegedly hid $350,000 in his home.

Ben Fukuyama claimed he had only $140 in cash and $2,010 in a bank account when he filed for bankruptcy in July 2009, the indictment said.

But Fukuyama allegedly had $350,000 in cash.

The indictment, filed in U.S. District Court in Honolulu, charged Fukuyama with concealing his assets, purchasing property with illegal funds of more than $10,000, and evading reporting requirements.

The charge of evading reporting requirements stems from 37 bank deposits Fukuyama made this year — 34 of which were for $9,900. The deposit amounts avoided the $10,000 threshold for which banks have to report transactions to the government.

According to the indictment, the fraud began with Fukuyama taking a $344,000 loan against his mortgage in April 2009. He deposited the loan into his account and withdrew it in a series of transactions. 

In July 2009, he filed for bankruptcy, claiming to have a Kapiolani Boulevard condo worth $375,000 and liabilities of $2.4 million. The liabilities included a $1.7 million contract to buy a condo in the Trump International Hotel & Tower in Waikiki.

After filing for bankruptcy, he and his wife bought an $305,000 apartment in Waikiki in May. About the same time, he deposited $343,900 into his bank account.

When questioned by an investigator, Fukuyama said he filed for bankruptcy to get out of a contract for the condo at Trump International Hotel. 

The indictment said if convicted, Fukuyama must forfeit his Waikiki apartment in the Coral Terrace Apartments on Aloha Drive.

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