Man awaiting sentencing for investment fraud suspected of... - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Man awaiting sentencing for investment fraud suspected of trying to flee country

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A man facing a maximum punishment of 40 years in prison for an investment fraud case was arrested for allegedly trying to obtain a US passport at the Prince Kuhio Federal Building in Honolulu Tuesday.

Authorities believe Joseph William Sullivan, 73, was attempting to flee the country prior to sentencing.

The suspect is accused of knowingly making false statements on his passport application, including using another name -- Donald Elbert Allen. According to the criminal complaint, he had $2,078 on him when he was arrested.

Sullivan is supposed to be sentenced in September on two counts of wire fraud for bilking investors out of more than $1 million. FBI agents say he managed to convince three Hawaii residents that he was an expert in the world of offshore banking.

"He issued certificates of deposit created on his home computer from non-existent foreign banks and sold them to people as high-yield, low-risk investments," Tom Simon, FBI special agent, said.

Investigators say he even sent out quarterly statements showing investors how much their money was growing.

"We were hoping for a lenient sentence given his age, he's 73, and the fact that for the better part of his adult life, he's remained arrest and conviction free," Thomas Otake, defense attorney, said.

Otake admits the passport fraud allegation complicates matters.

Sullivan made his initial appearance in the new case at US District Court Wednesday. A hearing on the government's motion to detain him without bail is set for June 6th.

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