Former Windward senator
gets 6 months in prison

A judge comes down hard on
Marshall Ige in a theft and tax case

By Rick Daysog

Saying the former lawmaker's actions were "glaringly wrong," a state judge has sentenced former state Sen. Marshall Ige to six months in prison.

Circuit Judge Sandra Simms yesterday also gave Ige five years of probation after the former Windward Oahu senator pleaded guilty in January to second-degree theft, attempting to evade taxes and failure to file tax returns.

Simms said Ige's case is troubling given that he took advantage of an elderly California couple and a farmer who didn't speak much English.

"It's like you knew who to pick on," Simms said. "That's just glaringly, glaringly, glaringly wrong."

Ige, who lost his Senate seat in 2000, appeared in court yesterday and pleaded for no jail time. His attorney Richard Sing said Ige was in dire financial straits.

"I'm not trying to make excuses," Ige said. "I regret going down this path. I should have never done it."

Ige, 48, served in the Legislature from 1982 to 2000 and is a former state Democratic Party vice chairman and a former chairman of the Senate Human Services Committee.

He is the latest local politician to be facing prison for crimes committed while in office. In December, a federal judge sentenced former city Councilman Andy Mirikitani to four years and three months in prison for a kickback and extortion scheme. That came after state Sen. Milton Holt served a one-year federal prison term for mail fraud.

"I think it's clear that the courts have recognized that we have an epidemic of public corruption," said Deputy Attorney General Kurt Spohn. "It's clear that people are fed up with this type of behavior."

According to the state, Ige improperly took $7,000 from Windward Oahu farmer Hahn Lam in June 1999 after threatening to evict Lam from leased land. Spohn, who asked for a one-year jail sentence, said Ige used his position in the state Legislature to bully Lam.

Ige's tax convictions arose from an "elaborate scheme" to defraud $30,000 from Morris and Rita Wolfred of Beverly Hills, according to Spohn. The Wolfreds said Ige promised to expunge a Hawaii criminal conviction against their daughter, Joan Wolfred, in exchange for the money. But Ige was unable to expunge her criminal record and did not return the money to the couple voluntarily.

Ige then hid the money from the state tax collector by giving it to a businessman who parceled it back to him in small amounts.

The state initially obtained indictments for first-degree theft against Ige in the Wolfreds' case. But those charges were dropped with the couple's consent. Ige has repaid the $30,000 to the Wolfreds, but still owes $4,400 in restitution to Lam.

Spohn said Ige failed pay the balance due to Lam, even after the former lawmaker gave more than $16,000 to his son and daughter and paid for more than five trips to Hong Kong, Taiwan and the U.S. mainland.

"It was the classic case of robbing Peter to pay Paul," Spohn said.

E-mail to City Desk


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

© 2002 Honolulu Star-Bulletin