Tuesday, August 27, 2002

2 women indicted
for allegedly evading
laws involving currency

Star-Bulletin staff

A federal grand jury indicted two women last week who allegedly evaded reporting requirements on currency transactions in connection with a multimillion-dollar investment scheme.

Gladys Hino, 61, pleaded not guilty and was released pending trial scheduled for Oct. 22. Paula Pimental, 50, is scheduled to appear for her arraignment next Tuesday.

U.S. Attorney Edward Kubo Jr. said the indictment alleges that both women worked for the Cayman Islands Investment Program and conspired to evade laws that require banks to report currency transactions of more than $10,000 to the Internal Revenue Service. Hino and Pimental allegedly evaded those laws by breaking up their transactions into amounts less than $10,000 so they could get cash for the program.

Along with the conspiracy charge, the indictment lists 10 instances in which Hino allegedly evaded the reporting requirement by cashing checks at local banks. The indictment also says Pimental provided checks to others to cash at local banks 18 times.

According to a news release, the Cayman Islands Investment Program offered investors purported returns of 8 percent per week. More than 5,000 people invested in the program.

Investments totaled about $67 million. The investment scheme ended after federal agents executed search warrants in October 1998.

Eleven other people have previously been charged in connection with the investment program. All but two people have pleaded guilty.

Montez Ottley, convicted on fraud, money laundering and other charges, was sentenced to 26 years and nine months in prison.

Hino and Pimental face up to five years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines for each charge.

Officials from the FBI, U.S. Customs Service, Internal Revenue Service and U.S. Postal Inspection Service were involved in the joint investigation.

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