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Oregon man sentenced for $3 million investment fraud scheme while living on Oahu

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A 52-year-old man who used to live on Oahu was sentenced to eight years in prison Friday for his investment fraud scheme that involved more than 30 victims, from whom he took more than $3 million.

Between 2012 and 2018, while living on Oahu, Neil Kauhi, of Wilsonville, Ore., took some $3.2 million from about 33 victims “to invest in precious metals, real estate, a trucking company, and other companies,” according to Kenji Price, U.S. Attorney for the District of Hawaii.

But instead of investing the funds, he used them on personal expenses, including an “expensive rental home in Makakilo, Hawaii, his daughter’s wedding, cars, and other daily living expenses,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Kauhi’s wife was also charged in the scheme, but was sentenced to 27 months in prison in February.

Senior U.S. District Judge Helen Gillmor in federal court sentenced Kauhi to 97 months in prison. He was also required to pay about $3.2 million in restitution and consented to forfeit nearly $600,000 seized by the Federal Bureau of Investigation during the investigation.

The victims of the scheme included the couple’s neighbors, family members, friends and other church parishioners who lived in Hawaii or New Zealand.

Kauhi took between $7,000 to more than $500,000 per victim, and for some he would obtain the money by inducing them to taking out home equity loans.

“Defendant Kauhi lined his pockets by destroying lives through fraud. This prosecution ensures accountability for the devastation he caused to those in our communities who unwittingly entrusted him with their money. My office will continue to vindicate the interests of victims who fall prey to those like Defendant Kauhi, who will callously cause financial ruin to others for their own comfort,” said U.S. Attorney Price in a statement.

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