18 Indicted on Racketeering-Related Charges
By Maui Now Staff
A federal grand jury indicted 18 men on racketeering-related charges, alleging that they were associated with a prison gang known as the USO Family, officials with the US Attorney’s Office in Hawaiʻi announced.
Six individuals were included in an indictment charging them with racketeering conspiracy, consisting of multiple acts of fraud, methamphetamine and marijuana distribution, and bribery, officials said.
The defendants include: Charlie Esera, 46; Billy Wond, 38; Opherro Jones, 39; David Kahui, 34; Robin Lee, 52; and Feso Malufau, 54.
The indictment further charges 13 defendants with assault on three individuals for the purpose of gaining entrance to, or maintaining, or increasing position withing the USO Family, according to information released by the US Attorney’s Office.
The defendants include: James Moser, 24; Paul Togia, 33; Vaofele Iiga, 35; Clarence Butler, 34; Potaufa Ula, 27; Shadrach Unea, 28; Moses Thompson, 34; Daniel Kenolio, 28; Opherro Jones; William Shinyama, 43; Tineimalo Adkins, 33; Akoni Davis, 24; and Travis Nishioka, 24.
Officials say defendant Lee is also charged with six counts of making false claims for income tax refunds for four of the other defendants. The indictment reportedly alleges that the filing of fraudulent tax returns for refunds is an activity the USO Family used to fund its operations, including bribing prison guards.
According to officials, defendants face a maximum of 20 years in jail and fines of up to $250,000 in each of the four racketeering-related counts; abd up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each of the false claim charges.
Other agencies involved in the investigation included the FBI, the IRS, the Honolulu Police Department, and the state Department of Public Safety.
Officials note that an indictment is merely an accusation, and each defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.