Victor Hasebe pleaded no contest yesterday to first- and second-degree theft and money laundering in connection with an auto parts scam.

Plea entered in
auto parts scam

A retired HPD worker pleads
no contest to buying auto parts
at inflated prices

By Debra Barayuga

A retired supervisor in the Honolulu Police Department's Vehicle Maintenance Division is asking for a deferral of his no contest plea to charges he purchased more than $43,000 worth of auto parts at inflated prices without the city's permission.

Victor Hasebe, 55, who worked for HPD for 17 years and left the department in September 2000, pleaded no contest yesterday to first- and second-degree theft and money laundering in connection with the fraud.

With a deferred acceptance of a no contest plea, a defendant can wipe his record clean if he follows conditions similar to probation.

Hasebe was the second of two civilian HPD employees indicted in April 2001 on charges they funneled about 75 percent of the department's business to a Kaimuki auto parts store in exchange for kickbacks. Victor Owan pleaded no contest in November and awaits sentencing.

According to Deputy Prosecutor Randal Lee, from July 1, 1993, to Aug. 30, 1999, Hasebe circumvented city bidding procedures and purchased items from Larry's Auto Parts at inflated prices. The city paid $33,945 more for auto parts than it would have paid if HPD had gone with an authorized vendor. Purchases are usually made from a price schedule established by the city. During the same period, Hasebe also admitted to purchasing about $10,000 worth of high-performance auto parts, presumably for personal use. The auto parts were not for use in the department's vehicles, and the city, had it known, would not have authorized their purchase. Some of the parts -- typically used for racing vehicles -- were recovered at the HPD garage.

Two brothers, John and Vernon Isono of Larry's Auto Parts, were accused of offering bribes to Hasebe and Owan in exchange for the department's business.

The Isonos pleaded guilty in November to second-degree theft for obtaining payments from the city for the high-performance auto parts.

In May they were each fined $2,500 and ordered to pay $3,333 in restitution.

Hasebe faces a maximum 10 years on the first-degree theft charge and five years for second-degree theft. He will be sentenced Oct. 11.

E-mail to City Desk


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