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Haʻikū Man Sentenced to 8.5 Years for Defrauding Indian Community

September 30, 2016, 1:10 PM HST · Updated September 30, 5:13 PM
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Maui Now image.

Maui Now image.

A part-time Maui resident was sentenced to prison on Thursday for defrauding an Indian community in California, justice officials said.

54-year-old Bart Wayne Volen, who is a resident of San Diego, California and Haʻikū, Maui, was sentenced to eight and a half years in jail for defrauding the United Auburn Indian Community located north of Sacramento, conspiring to launder money and filing a false tax return.

Justice officials say Volen and two other defendants ultimately stole over $18 million from the community through the scheme.

According to court documents, Volen was hired as a developer to finish construction on a school, community center and administrative offices, but submitted false and inflated invoices with the two other defendants approving of the invoices based on a kickback agreement between the three men.

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United States District Judge Troy L. Nunley noted during sentencing that Volen had stolen from people who had become “like family members” to him.

“Bart Volen and his co-defendants used their trusted positions to steal millions of dollars from the UAIC,” said Michael T. Batdorf, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation. “Rather than stopping the fraud, Mr. Volen chose to benefit from it. Today’s sentencing should send a clear message that those involved in these types of schemes will be held accountable for their actions.”

Other defendants lamed in the case were Gregory Scott Baker, of Newcastle, and Darrell Patrick Hinz, of Cameron Park.

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An indictment from August 2012 charged the defendants with conspiring to commit mail and wire fraud and various money laundering violations. A superseding indictment from April 2013 added additional charges, alleging that Volen and Hinz filed false tax returns in 2006 and 2007, and that Baker filed false tax returns from 2006 through 2009.

Justice officials say Volen supported his invoices with inflated cost proposals from his general contractor’s company, Sequoia Pacific Builders, and, at times, inflated invoices from various subcontractors. At Volen’s direction, over 160 SPB cost proposals were fraudulently inflated, authorities said.

According to court documents, Hinz paid for a $12,500 weekend trip that he and Baker took in Hawaiʻi and for certain obligations owed by Baker. Hinz also purchased a number of things for Baker, including various assets, personal property — a $70,000 BMW and a mobile home — several investment properties, a vacation condominium in South Lake Tahoe, and various improvements to property, such as a $54,000 pool at his primary residence, justice officials said.

Volen, Baker and Hinz have agreed to pay at least $17 million in restitution to the UAIC.

This case was the product of an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation. Assistant United States Attorneys Michael M. Beckwith, John K. Vincent and Kevin C. Khasigian prosecuted the case.

Chris W. Eatough, the owner of Sequoia Pacific Builders, previously pleaded guilty to a felony related to this case on June 20, 2013. Eatough was charged and is scheduled to be sentence by Judge Nunley on Dec. 8, 2016.

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