Tuesday, June 22, 1999

Former resort
tennis pro gets
3 years for
investment fraud

By Debra Barayuga


A former tennis pro who posed as an investment adviser will spend 36 months in federal prison for bilking investors of nearly $600,000.

U.S. District Judge Alan Kay yesterday also ordered Brien Sullivan, 34, formerly of California, to pay $579,858 in restitution to eight victims and the Bank of Hawaii.

Sullivan, who pleaded guilty to mail, wire and bank fraud, had faced a sentencing range of 30 to 37 months. Kay felt the higher end was appropriate given the sophistication and repetitive nature of the crime, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Lawrence Tong.

In addressing the court, Sullivan expressed remorse and blamed his actions on a drug addiction.

Sullivan once was a successful tennis player and a teaching professional at a Kona resort.

Between 1994 and 1997, he operated Brien Sullivan Capital Management and Lava Trading, primarily in Kona, posing as an investment adviser. He solicited money from family friends saying he would invest it in commodities, futures and stock index funds, but used the money for expenses, Tong said.

To lull his victims into thinking the money had been invested, he created fictitious account statements showing they were earning attractive rates of returns.

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