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POSTED: Monday, December 01, 2008

FBI warns of foreclosure flimflam

The FBI is warning the public of an ongoing scheme targeting homeowners facing foreclosure or other financial difficulties.

Victims have paid thousands of dollars for services to the perpetrators of this scheme, said an FBI news release issued last week.

The scheme comes in different variations, all beginning with offers too good to be true.

The perpetrators purport: 1) A person can stop making mortgage payments and paying property taxes; 2) an artificial bond will pay off their mortgage; and 3) the homeowner can keep their home without a foreclosure or eviction.

The fake bonds use names of government officials to appear legitimate.

The suspects involved have preyed on native Hawaiians by alleging Hawaiian heritage rights are part of the financial backing for the phony bonds, the FBI said.

The scheme uses a variety of legal documents filed with government offices to make them appear legitimate, and reportedly has used false tax returns showing the participant being owed large sums of money. Anyone who has been or knows of someone who has been contacted to participate in such a scheme is asked to contact the local FBI office.

Chairman wants comments brief

Hawaii County Council meetings will probably speed up this month — by at least a few minutes.

Outgoing Council Chairman Pete Hoffmann allowed people who appeared during public comment periods to speak for three minutes with an additional minute to summarize.

But incoming Chairman J Yoshimoto says he will adhere to current rules that permit no more than three minutes per speaker. He has some other changes in mind for public testimony that will require the Council's approval.

One would bar councilmembers from questioning speakers during their testimony until after the public comment period is completed. He also wants people who submit written testimony to do so by noon the day before Council meetings.

Scholarships fund study of aging

The Hawaii Pacific Gerontological Society is accepting applications for its $1,000 scholarship awards for Hawaii college students pursuing studies and careers in aging.

Applicants must be Hawaii residents with a minimum 3.0 grade point average, with at least one course in gerontology or aging, or volunteer or professional experience in an aging-related agency or program. Applicants should write an essay describing future career plans in the aging field and demonstrate financial need.

The scholarship application can be downloaded at http://www.hpgs.org. Completed applications should be mailed by Dec. 17 to HPGS Scholarship Committee, P.O. Box 3714, Honolulu, HI 96812.

Kahe Point traffic lane disruption

Hawaiian Electric Co. advises motorists to be aware of utility work on Farrington Highway across from the parking lot of Kahe Point Beach Park this week.

The work will require crews to close the right Waianae-bound lane from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. today through Saturday, according to a news release.

The lane closure will start about 600 feet before the Kane Power Plant. Motorists are advised to use caution when driving through the area.