EXCLUSIVE: Prosecutors seek to revive major gambling case dismissed in 2014
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Four years after a major gaming rooms case was dismissed, the Honolulu prosecutor's office appears ready to try again.
In 2012, hundreds of sweepstakes machines, deemed gambling devices, were seized from businesses like Winner's Zone, Lucky Touch and Prize World. Nine people were named in a historic, 414-count indictment.
But the criminal case failed and in 2014, all charges were dismissed. The prosecutors handling the case were scolded by the judge.
The machines, though, were never returned to the business owners. One of those business owners, Tracy Yoshimura, says the case has cost him hundreds of thousands of dollars and damaged his credit.
"It's going to take years and years to re-establish whether it's our fault or not, not paying those bills it will take a long time to recover from," says Yoshimura.
Sources say two different prosecutors are now assigned to the case. They are offering plea deals to some of the defendants from the previous case as they look at returning to the grand jury to re-indict.
Yoshimura's attorney, Myles Breiner, says that would be a waste of taxpayer's money and would have the same result.
"You can't even get your act together to properly indict the largest criminal indictment in state history and then you take two years to resurrect the case, and half of those charges you can't pursue because it's too late," says Breiner.
The statute of limitations has run out on dozens of the original charges.
The city Prosecutor's Office declined our request for comment on the re-indictment attempt, saying they don't discuss ongoing investigations and cases.
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