Former Maui official enters guilty plea to fraud in bribery case
September 19, 2022, 2:19 PM HST
* Updated September 20, 5:19 AM
A former Maui official entered a guilty plea in a conspiracy case during an initial hearing in US District Court on Monday, according to court documents.
Stewart Olani Stant, 55, who was employed as manager of the Wastewater Division, and then the director of the Department of Environmental Management, is accused of steering $19 million in contracts to H2O Processes, LLC, a company run by Hawaiʻi businessman Milton Choy. According to court documents, Stant is accused of accepting $2 million in bribes as part of the conspiracy, between 2012 and 2018.
In unsealing a felony information last week, officials with the US Attorney’s Office in Hawaiʻi described the charges as one of the largest fraud and public corruption cases investigated by the department.
Stant is charged with one count of honest services wire fraud. Choy is charged separately with bribing Stant. Justice officials say the actions violated federal law because the value of the contracts exceeded $5,000 and Maui County received more than $10,000 in federal funding during each of the calendar years of the continuing bribery scheme.
Choy also entered a guilty plea in a separate arraignment on Monday before Judge Derrick K. Watson, according to court documents.
This is the latest charges tied to Choy. Two former Democratic state lawmakers in February pleaded guilty to honest services wire fraud for accepting bribes from Choy in exchange for influencing legislation.
Sentencing is set for Jan. 4, 2023 for both men. Stant’s sentencing is set for 10 a.m. and Choy’s is set for 9 a.m.
Choy is the same individual identified as “Person A” in the bribery case involving former Senate Majority Leader J. Kalani English and former State Representative Ty Cullen that was announced in February.