Tuesday, April 29, 2003

Island man in drug case
will be free in 3 months

The former president of Hawaii Credit Counseling expressed gratitude to the judge who sentenced him yesterday for conspiring to launder drug money through the company in exchange for heroin.

U.S. District Judge Susan Mollway sentenced Michael Haxton to three years of supervised release on condition he serve a year in prison, with credit for time served. Haxton, who pleaded guilty to the money laundering charge, has spent nine months in prison after he and his wife, Yvonne, former treasurer at Hawaii Credit Counseling, were arrested in February 2001. He will be allowed to serve the remaining three months on weekends at the Federal Detention Center.

Haxton thanked the court yesterday for a second chance "to have my life back" and to be a husband and parent to his two young children.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Thomas had asked the court to consider Haxton's cooperation against a drug trafficker. (Drug dealer Jose Nunez-Curiel was subsequently indicted and sentenced to seven years and a month's imprisonment for conspiracy to distribute heroin and cocaine, illegally remaining in the United States and money laundering.)

The government contends the Haxtons laundered drug proceeds by accepting small bills from drug dealers in exchange for larger denominations in the same amount. The large denominations came from payments by clients of the Kalihi debt management agency.

Earlier this month, Mollway sentenced Yvonne Haxton to four months in prison, followed by 240 days of prison confinement on weekends. Yvonne Haxton had also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering. The Haxtons are no longer with the credit counseling agency.


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