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Allegations against ex-screener grow

Former Transportation Security Administration screener Dawn Nikole Keka, who admitted stealing $200 from an undercover agent posing as a Japanese tourist, has faced similar allegations, said federal prosecutor Michael Song.

The TSA’s Office of Inspector General targeted Keka, who was lead TSA officer at Kona Airport, in a sting operation last month because it had received reports from five female Japanese tourists that Keka stole money from them in amounts ranging from $20 to $500, Song said.

Keka, 35, pleaded guilty in federal court Friday to misdemeanor theft and was hoping to get sentenced at the same time. The charge carries maximum penalties of one year in jail, one year of supervised release and a $100,000 fine.

But U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Kurren said he will not sentence Keka until a court agency does an investigation and report. He scheduled sentencing for July.

Other travelers and even some of Keka’s former co-workers have stepped forward with more theft accusations, Song said. One man claims he lost $9,000, he said.

Man pleads guilty in $1.5M fraud

A former Morgan Stanley Dean Witter stock broker admitted yesterday he diverted $1.5 million from the investment accounts of his in-laws to his own bank account and lost much of the money on the stock market.

Ryan Kimura, 42, pleaded guilty to one count each of wire fraud, bank fraud, money laundering and filing a false income tax return. He faces a maximum 30-year prison term and $1 million fine just for the bank fraud, the most serious of the crimes, when a federal judge sentences him in August. He also faces having to repay the government for the cost of prosecuting him. Under a plea agreement, Kimura also must repay his former employer the $1.5 million it refunded his in-laws and pay the IRS.

NEIGHBOR ISLANDS

$9.9M value of Big Isle land falls to $100

Hawaii County officials are investigating how the assessed value of a 26-acre commercial parcel on the Big Island fell to just $100 from $9.9 million.

West Hawaii Today reported that The Queen Liliuokalani Trust owns the prime property in Kailua-Kona and paid more than $90,000 in taxes last year. But the trust does not have to pay any taxes this year because of the new assessment.

County Tax Administrator Stan Sitko said the property’s commercial designation was changed to archaeological-historical because of a reclassification.

But according to the county tax office online database, the land has retained its commercial zoning.

Sitko says it’s likely the tax office will reassess the property and start charging taxes again in July.

Track and field program invites youths

Kauai youths ages 9 to 14 are invited to participate in the Hershey’s Track & Field Youth Program next month.

The program provides beginners with a chance to experience track and field and gives experienced athletes the opportunity to compete and prepare for Hershey’s national competition.

The Hershey’s Track & Field Games will be held at noon May 21 at Vidinha Stadium.

The deadline to register is 4 p.m. May 13.

Applications are available at all neighborhood centers and the Department of Parks and Recreation administrative office at the Lihue Civic Center.

Completed applications can be dropped off at any neighborhood center, faxed to 241-6858 or emailed to lihuenc@kauai.gov. Applications can also be mailed to HRPA Hershey Youth Program, c/o Department of Parks and Recreation, 3353 Eono St., Lihue, HI 96766.

UH to screen films

The University of Hawaii Academy for Creative Media will hold free public screenings of student films Thursday and Saturday beginning at 6 p.m. each day at the UH-Manoa Art Auditorium. UH students can vote for their favorites for an audience award to be announced May 6. Go to www.hawaii.edu/acm.

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