Tuesday, September 14, 1999

By Ken Ige, Star-Bulletin
Richard Chung pleaded guilty to theft , forgery and money
laundering charges yesterday in connection with a
false billing scheme against the city.

pal will testify
against him

Richard Chung pleads guilty
to falsely billing the city
for $600,000

By Debra Barayuga


A friend of fired city housing official Michael Kahapea has pleaded guilty to charges that he submitted $600,000 in false billings for moving businesses from Middle Street.

Under a plea agreement with the state, Richard Chung, 71, also agreed yesterday to testify against Kahapea and pay $69,000 in restitution.

Chung had been charged with first-degree theft, second-degree forgery and money laundering. He faces 10 years imprisonment when sentenced Feb. 16.

Under the plea agreement, the state will recommend probation and up to a year in prison. The defense also may move for a deferred acceptance of Chung's guilty plea, which means the charges could be erased from his record if he abides by the court's conditions.

Kahapea will go to trial next year for defrauding the city of millions of dollars in moving expenses to make way for city projects at Ewa Villages, Middle Street and West Loch.

Prosecutors say Kahapea allegedly had friends and relatives create bogus moving companies which billed the city for relocation work that was either never done or done at inflated costs.

Chung is accused of creating RC Movers, a bogus company, which billed the city to move a meat-packing company and a tire company from Middle Street to make way for the city bus barn in the early 1990s.

Chung allegedly kicked back monies to Kahapea and Kahapea's friends, Deputy Prosecutor Randal Lee said.

Although Chung's chances if he had gone to trial were good, he has a heart condition and didn't want to go through the stress of a trial, said his attorney, William Harrison.

Chung, who owns an upholstery company, had been asked by Kahapea to help him out on projects, Harrison said.

Instead, Kahapea used him, Harrison said.

"He was duped by Kahapea," he said.

Chung is the second defendant expected to testify against Kahapea in connection with the alleged Middle Street relocation scam.

Earlier this year, Shiro Aoki, who was called the head of RC Movers, pleaded guilty to second-degree theft, second-degree forgery and money laundering.

Other defendants involved in alleged false bills for Ewa Villages moving expenses have also plead guilty to lesser charges and agreed testify against Kahapea.

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