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POSTED: Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Company owner admits fraud

The owner of a mortgage brokerage company admitted in federal court yesterday to committing mortgage fraud involving two properties on Oahu.

Antonio Alcantara pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit mail and wire fraud. He faces a maximum five years in prison when he is sentenced in December.

It was his company, Mortgage Ability, that processed loan applications for a home on Mokapu Boulevard in Kailua and a home on 16th Avenue in Kaimuki by straw purchasers who never intended to live in the homes or pay off the mortgage. The loan applications also contained false income information.

Paula Galacgac, who worked as a loan officer for Alcantara and admitted preparing the applications, has already pleaded guilty.

“;I was the mortgage broker that allowed Paula Galacgac to run those loans through my company,”; Alcantara said.

UH completes $100 million bond sale

The University of Hawaii system reports it concluded the sale of $100 million of university revenue bonds.

The system said in a news release that the money will be used for student housing as well as campus and research facilities.

It said some of the money will be used to refund $13 million of previously issued bonds for a savings of $1 million.

University President David McClain said the financing of the projects demonstrates the system is part of the solution to Hawaii's current economic challenges.

Merrill Lynch & Co. underwrote the bonds. Yields ranged from 0.95 percent to 5.5 percent and carried a final maturity of Oct. 1, 2038.

The funds raised will be used for a variety of projects, including $22 million for an addition to the university's biomedical building.

Mayor to sign bill on cell phones

Mayor Mufi Hannemann plans to sign a bill that would ban the use of mobile electronic devices, including cell phones, while driving.

According to his weekly schedule, a bill signing ceremony is set for Thursday. The City Council passed the measure last month.

The law would take effect July 1.

Bill 4 is aimed mostly at stopping activities such as text messaging and video-game playing, but a blanket ban on the use of all devices was needed to make the measure enforceable, law enforcement officials said.

Under the bill, a police officer would only have to see a driver using a hand-held device, not determine what was being done, to issue a citation. Hands-free devices would still be allowed under the bill.

Neighbor island watch

HANAPEPE » County firefighters assisted public works employees in putting out fires smoldering in green waste at the Hanapepe transfer station. Two separate fires started Sunday night apparently by spontaneous combustion, a Kauai County spokeswoman said. No one was hurt.

HILO » Hawaii County is sponsoring a workshop and a question-and-answer session on how the federal stimulus package will benefit the island. The session will be held 9-11 a.m. Thursday in the Executive Office on Aging Training Room at 1055 Kinoole St. Those interested must RSVP by tomorrow. Call 961-8366.

MAKENA » Lifeguard service was restored to Makena State Beach Park, better known as Big Beach, through an agreement between the state and Maui County. The state built two lifeguard towers and paid for a rescue Jet Ski. The county funds one part-time and 10 full-time lifeguards. There has been no lifeguard service at the beach since the 1990s.