POSTED: Thursday, February 19, 2009

Isle man faces Ponzi plot lawsuit

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission are suing a Hawaii corporation and its chief executive for allegedly defrauding deaf people in the United States and Japan through a Ponzi scheme that purported to make money buying and selling foreign currency.

Two separate lawsuits filed in U.S. District Court yesterday name as defendants Billion Coupons Inc., and Marvin R. Cooper, 32, of Honolulu.

The lawsuits say that BCI and Cooper have collected more than $4.4 million since September 2007 from at least 125 investors, many of whom are members of the deaf community.

The two agencies say the Ponzi scheme is collapsing or on the verge of collapse.

The SEC and CFTC are asking a federal judge to order the freezing of the company's assets.


Ex-clerk sentenced in sex assaults

A Circuit Court judge sentenced a 25-year-old former Disney Store salesclerk yesterday to 20 years in state prison for sexually assaulting three boys.

Kaulana Hirakawa is already serving more than 21 years in federal prison for taking a nude picture of one of the three boys and posting it on the Internet.

At the time the judge handed down the federal sentence, Hirakawa's lawyer said she expects Hirakawa to serve his state sentence after he completes his federal prison term.

The boys were 6, 10 and 13 years old when Hirakawa sexually assaulted them.


Hanauma Bay closed due to jellyfish

City officials closed Hanauma Bay yesterday after a large number of box jellyfish were found on the beach and in near-shore waters.

Within an hour, more than 20 jellyfish were found on the beach with countless more spotted floating just offshore, said Bryan Cheplic, spokesman for the Honolulu Emergency Services Department.

Lifeguards were to reassess the situation today to determine whether to reopen the beach to the public.

As of 2 p.m. yesterday, 780 jellyfish were found in the Waikiki and Ala Moana area. Lifeguards reported 90 stings at Waikiki Beach and one sting at Ala Moana Beach. At Waimea Bay, 150 jellyfish were spotted. No stings were reported at the beach, said Cheplic in a news release. On the Leeward Coast, 275 box jellyfish were found at various beaches with one reported sting.

Warning signs were posted at Waikiki Beach, Ala Moana Beach Park, Waimea Bay and Pokai Bay.