Ventura-Oliver Sentenced in Debt Elimination SchemeDecember 3, 2014, 1:34 PM HST · Updated December 4, 1:06 PM 0 Comments
By Maui Now Staff
A federal judge sentenced former Maui resident, Mahealani Ventura-Oliver, 44, to six years and six months in jail for her role in marketing a debt elimination and tax scheme.
The sentence was handed down by District Judge J. Michael Seabright on Monday, Dec. 1, 2014.
In addition to the jail term, Ventura-Oliver was also ordered to pay $424,534 in restitution to victims.
In October 2013, a federal jury found Ventra-Oliver guilty of conspiring to use fictitious financial instruments, 15 counts of mail fraud, one count of money laundering, one count of conspiring to submit false tax returns seeking $1.5 million in refunds from the IRS, and submitting one false tax return.
Florence Nakakuni, US Attorney for the District of Hawaiʻi, said that according to evidence produced in court, Ventura-Oliver and others were part of a group known as Ko Hawaiʻi Pae ʻĀina, the Registry and Hawaiiloa Foundation.
In a Justice Department press release, officials said that between 2008 and 2009, the group held weekly seminars on Maui, where Ventura-Oliver and others spoke about Hawaiian history and culture, and royal land patents.
According to the US Justice Department, the evidence showed that, in return for the payment of a fee, the group offered to provide distressed homeowners with “bonds” and other documents that would pay off their mortgages and forestall collection efforts.
The “bonds” purportedly directed the US Treasury Department or the State of Hawaiʻi Comptroller of the Currency to make payments on behalf of the homeowners.
Justice officials say that according to evidence presented at the trial, Hawaiiloa Foundation collected approximately $468,000 from approximately 200 individuals who went through the debt
According to the Justice Department, many of the individuals tried to use the bonds, but ultimately lost their homes through foreclosure or had to renegotiate loans.
Ventura-Oliver was the last of four defendants sentenced in the case. Her estranged husband, John Oliver, who pled guilty, and Pilialoha Teves were previously sentenced to jail terms of 42 months; and Lehua Hoy was sentenced to a three year term of probation.