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Tax evader given prison time and a fine

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A 62-year-old former Maui insurance agent was sentenced yesterday to 2 1/2 years in prison for evading more than $1 million in state and federal taxes.

Senior District Judge Helen Gillmor also sentenced Herbert Y. Ushiroda Jr. to three years of supervised release and a $20,000 fine. Ushiroda also paid back the tax he owed plus interest, which totaled $911,878 to the U.S. Department of the Treasury and $205,715 to the state.

Ushiroda is scheduled to report to prison on May 11.

Ushiroda entered a guilty plea in December for tax evasion from 2003 through 2007. During that time, Ushiroda filed false joint tax returns on behalf of himself and his wife.

During sentencing at federal court yesterday, Ushiroda apologized for his actions, saying his wrongdoing caused embarrassment and humiliation to his family, resulting in a divorce from his wife of 33 years. He was also forced to give up his career as an insurance agent that he loved, he said. “I take full responsibility for violating the law,” he said, adding that he was deeply ashamed of his actions.

Ushiroda’s attorney, Brook Hart, requested a sentence of 18 months. Hart said Ushiroda cooperated with the federal government and has paid the full restitution. He made every effort to correct his actions, Hart said.“He has made up for his wrongdoing.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Leslie Osborne said Ushiroda turned his back on his legal obligations and developed a system of hiding his income. His repetitive actions over a long period of time were reprehensible, Osborne added. “He continued to divert money into his own pocket for his own selfish needs until he received a call from the IRS that he was under investigation.

“Society needs to know that conduct cannot be tolerated,” Osborne said.

Gillmor told Ushiroda his failure to pay taxes was a failure to the community, especially those in need of services. “You committed the ultimate selfish act,” she said, noting that he and his family reaped the benefits of his wrongdoing through an enhanced lifestyle.

CORRECTION: Helen Gillmor is a senior district judge, not a chief district judge as was reported in a previous version of this story.

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