2 plead guilty in mortgage fraud
Albert Alimoot said he did it to boost his credit score and didn't know it was illegal.
Evan Koizumi said he did it to help out a family that was having trouble paying its mortgage.
Alimoot, 47, and Koizumi, 40, pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court to conspiring to commit wire fraud and mail fraud and to make false statements on loan applications as part of their roles in a mortgage fraud scheme. They face maximum five-year prison terms when they are sentenced in April.
In exchange for their pleas and promises to testify against others, the government promises to drop other charges and describe the pair as minor players in the scheme at sentencing, said Clare Connors, assistant U.S. attorney.
Connors said both men agreed to be so-called straw purchasers for two properties on Oahu whose owners were facing foreclosure.
Alimoot said he agreed with co-defendants Paula Galacgac, a loan officer with a mortgage broker company, and John Mendoza to purchase a home on Mokapu Boulevard in Kailua. He said he signed a blank loan application for Galacgac to fill out.
He said the seller was supposed to make the loan payments and continued living in the home. But he said the seller was always late with the payments and that he just wanted to get out of the deal. Alimoot said he received $5,000 for his role in the scheme.
Koizumi said he agreed with Galacgac and Mendoza to be the purchaser of a home on 16th Avenue in Kaimuki. He said he never intended to live in the home or make the mortgage payments and lied about his income on his loan application. He received $9,000 for his role in the scheme, which went to pay back child support.
Galacgac, charged Friday, is scheduled to plead guilty tomorrow. Mendoza and two other defendants, Antonio Alcantara Jr. and Ira Altwegg, are scheduled to stand trial in March.
Suspensions end for 2 go! pilots
Two former go! pilots who fell asleep while flying a planeload of people to Hilo are eligible to fly again since their suspensions by the Federal Aviation Administration ended Sept. 9.
The FAA suspended Capt. Scott Oltman's license for 60 days for violating two FAA regulations: careless and reckless operation of an aircraft that endangers the life or property of another person, and failure to maintain required radio communications.
The FAA suspended 1st Officer Dillon Shelpey's license for 45 days, also for careless and reckless operation of an aircraft that endangers the life or property of another person.
The pilots of go! Flight 1002 were suspended Feb. 13, the day of the incident. They failed to respond to nearly a dozen calls from air traffic controllers for 17 minutes. The two were piloting a 50-seat CRJ200 at 21,000 feet and carrying 40 passengers and a flight attendant.
The pilots overshot the Hilo Airport by 15 miles before circling back and landing.
Mesa Air Group, the parent company of the interisland carrier, fired the pilots April 13.
Second-oldest zoo hippo dies
Cleopatra, the second-oldest hippopotamus in a U.S. zoo, died Saturday at the Honolulu Zoo due to failing health attributed to her age.
Known as Cleo, she was just shy of her 53rd birthday. Hippos have an average life expectancy of 40 years.
Veterinarians put down the 3,500-pound mammal over the weekend.
She arrived at the Honolulu Zoo in 1958 when she was 21/2 years old after she was purchased from the Prospect Zoo in New York in February of that year.
Police, Fire, Courts
Crash leaves man critically injured
Police said excessive speed might have contributed to a truck crash that critically injured the front-seat passenger early yesterday morning in Laie near the Hawaii temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Firefighters extracted the injured 19-year-old Hauula man from the pickup truck. He was taken to a Honolulu hospital in critical condition after the 12:36 a.m. accident, which occurred on Kamehameha Highway near Hale Laa Boulevard.
The 18-year-old male driver, also of Hauula, was not injured. He was driving a pickup truck southbound on Kamehameha Highway. The driver reported he swerved to avoid a pedestrian and hit a street sign, a tree and a fence, police said.
Boy stops breathing in parents' bed
A 23-month-old Kapolei boy died early Sunday morning after he was found unconscious in his parents' bed.
After an autopsy yesterday, the Medical Examiner's Office said the cause of death remains undetermined. The parents, a 22-year-old man and 23-year-old woman, said they went to sleep with their baby between them. When they awoke at 4:08 a.m., the child was not breathing, police said.
The father administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation, but the toddler was pronounced dead at the hospital, police said.
Man who died in custody ID'd
The Honolulu Medical Examiner's Office identified the man who died Friday while in police custody as Henry L. Mara of Waianae.
The office said an autopsy was performed yesterday but would not release the cause of death.
Police arrested the 47-year-old man on suspicion of trespassing on commercial property in Kapolei Friday night. While at the police station, Mara complained of pain and was taken to Hawaii Medical Center West, where he became unresponsive and could not be revived.