Business leader faces fraud charge

Business leader faces fraud charge

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Federal authorities have filed fraud charges against a former president of the Filipino Chamber of Commerce in Hawaii.

Jason Pascua also was an Army reservist who ran unsuccessfully for a state House seat in Kaneohe. The FBI said he traded in his reputation in the community to bilk $1.4 million from 29 investors.

"This is not the kind of guy who screamed fraud when you met him. This is the kind of guy who screamed out you can trust him," said FBI spokesman Tom Simon.

According to the criminal charges, Pascua lured dozens of people to invest in bogus rock concerts and celebrity events by promising returns of 20 to 50 percent.

Pascua told investors that he arranging concerts in Las Vegas and Honolulu for Beyonce, Britney Spears and other big-name stars, the FBI said.

"Several people jumped at the opportunity and invested hundreds of thousands of dollars only to find out that these shows never happened," said Simon.

According to the FBI, the bulk of the money went to pay for lavish parties that Pascua held at Las Vegas night clubs.

Attorney Elijah Yip represents one victim who lost $150,000 after Pascua promise him a 20 percent return.

"Of course that never materialized because there was no concert. There was no legitimate investment. As we learned now, this appeared to be a big ponzi scheme," Yip said.

Many of the victims include fellow Army reserve members, friends in the local music scene and several Waikiki residents, the FBI said.

Pascua, a former Kaneohe resident who now lives in Arizona, did not return calls. He is scheduled to appear in Honolulu Federal Court in May, where he is expected to plead guilty.

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