Thursday, March 18, 1999

Federal grand jury adds four criminal charges against Holt

The former senator is accused
of diverting funds for
personal use

By Rick Daysog


A federal grand jury added four new criminal charges against former state Sen. Milton Holt, saying he diverted campaign funds to pay for his car insurance premiums and relatives' birthday and wedding celebrations at the Honolulu Country Club.

The secret panel yesterday returned an indictment against the once-powerful legislator, saying Holt took almost $5,000 in campaign funds for his personal use from 1994 to 1996.

Last October, the grand jury indicted Holt on two counts of theft for diverting some $9,940 from his unsuccessful 1996 re-election campaign.

"It was a purpose of the scheme to defraud . . . and embezzle funds from the Friends of Milton Holt Campaign Committee, (and) to covert these funds to Milton Holt's personal use, enjoyment and benefit," the indictment said.

Holt's trial is set for May 11. If convicted, Holt faces up to five years for each of the six charges. He also faces a fine of up to $250,000 for each count.

Reginald Minn, Holt's attorney, declined comment, saying he has not seen the indictment. Last October, Holt had pleaded not guilty to the two prior theft charges.

The indictment comes after federal Magistrate Barry Kurren on Tuesday ordered Holt into a drug treatment center after he violated terms of his supervised release.

Holt, 46, currently is employed by the Bishop Estate as a special projects officer.

The former legislator has been a target of investigations by federal and state law enforcement authorities over alleged campaign finance violations. Yesterday's indictment provided several new details on how Holt allegedly used the money:

bullet On April 1, 1994, he hosted a birthday party for a relative at the Honolulu Country Club. He paid for the party with a $698.35 check drawn on his campaign account and later listed the payment as a donation.

bullet On July 22, 1995, Holt billed his campaign $1,090.77 for drinks for a relative's reception at the Honolulu Club. These charges also were listed as a donation.

bullet Holt sent a $588.30 campaign check to State Farm Insurance Co. on Nov. 23, 1994, to pay auto insurance premiums.

bullet In January 1996, Holt failed to turn over $2,600 to his re-election after he sold a car he initially bought with campaign funds.

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