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Former financial adviser sentenced for swindling retirees

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    Bruce M. Harada, 55, now faces up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $75,000. Circuit Judge Rom Trader scheduled Harada’s sentencing for Jan. 14.

A state judge sentenced financial adviser Bruce M. Harada this morning to 20 years in prison for swindling more than $2.5 million in retirement money from 21 current and former city employees.

Twenty years is the mandatory sentence for securities fraud involving $100,000 or more. The Hawaii Paroling Authority will decide how much of that time Harada will have to spend behind bars before he is eligible for parole.

Circuit Judge Rom Trader also ordered Harada, 57, to pay back his former employer ING North American Corp. the more than $1.8 million it reimbursed his victims.

Harada was a contract ING employee managing deferred compensation accounts for active and retired city employees when he convinced his victims to withdraw their money from the accounts from April 2007 to May 2012 to reinvest in a mutual fund.

Instead of reinvesting the money prosecutor Chris Van Marter said Harada spent it on the purchase of four cars, clothes, vacations, school tuition for his children, and more than $300,000 on home repairs. Van Marter said Harada also used money from some victims to pay off others.

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