Advertisement - Click to support our sponsors.

Friday, October 27, 2000

Two men face
felony charge
in tee-time
phone tampering

By Jaymes K. Song

Two Verizon Hawaii employees have been suspended without pay after they were arrested Wednesday for allegedly tampering with the city's phone system to obtain tee times for themselves and friends at several municipal golf courses.

The two -- a Mililani Mauka man, 53, and a Mililani man, 60 -- were arrested at Verizon's offices on Bishop Street on suspicion of "unauthorized access through electronic communication service," which violates wiretapping laws and is a Class-C felony, police said. They were released pending further investigation.

The two men, who each have worked for the phone company for more than 30 years, could face several other felony charges after the investigation is completed, police said.

"The two employees are suspended without pay, pending results of the police investigation," Verizon officials said in a statement released this morning. "We do not tolerate unethical behavior or violations of privacy, and have fully cooperated with police authorities in this investigation."

Officials said the company conducts background checks on new hires, and annually requires employees to review and endorse the company's standards of business conduct.

Verizon referred all other questions to police.

Police began investigating the case three months ago, after city golf course starters became suspicious that the men were getting tee times for the same days and times, said Lt. William Kato of the Criminal Investigation Division.

Tee times at city courses are scheduled by an automated call-in system.

The two suspects monitored the high-volume call center where the alleged offenses occurred.

"They choked out the lines, stopping everybody, so they could get tee times for themselves," Kato said.

Police found the two had tampered with the system "at least 20 times" to get tee times for themselves and other people at municipal courses, including Ewa Villages, Pali, Ala Wai and West Loch.

Verizon Hawaii was formerly GTE Hawaiian Tel.

E-mail to City Desk

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]

© 2000 Honolulu Star-Bulletin