Friday, October 5, 2001

Brothers John, left, and Vernon Isono waived indictment
yesterday on charges of second-degree theft and bribery
in the sale of auto parts to the police garage.

Not-guilty plea in car
parts kickback case

2 men are accused of overcharging
the police garage for parts

By Debra Barayuga

Two brothers who run a Kaimuki auto parts store have pleaded not guilty to charges of bribing supervisors at the Honolulu Police Department's maintenance garage for its business.

John Isono, 33, and Vernon Isono, 47, of Larry's Auto Parts waived indictment yesterday on charges of second-degree theft and bribery that allegedly occurred between July 1993 and August 1999.

Two civilian supervisors of the department's vehicle maintenance section pleaded not guilty in April to funneling about 75 percent of the business to Larry's, which allegedly sold parts at 30 percent more than what other vendors would have charged. Larry's was not on the city's list of approved vendors.

Winston Owan, 46, and Victor Hasebe, 55, allegedly received Las Vegas trips, cash and high-performance auto parts that never were installed in police cars, but obtained for personal use. Both no longer work for the department.

Over a five-year period, Larry's sold more than $800,000 in auto parts to the police garage, overcharging the department by about $25,000, prosecutors said earlier.

The brothers and their attorneys left the courthouse without comment. Prosecutors said earlier that a plea agreement was being negotiated.

Second-degree theft and bribery are felonies that carry a five-year prison term.

Trial week was set for Dec. 3.

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