(Source: By Nelson Daranciang, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser (MCT) – A financial adviser accused of stealing $2.2 million from 22 active and retired city employees is scheduled to go on trial in state court next month for securities fraud and money laundering.
Bruce M. Harada, 53, pleaded not guilty to the charges June 28. He remains in custody, unable to post $250,000 bail.
According to the indictment a grand jury returned against him last month, Harada committed his crimes from April 16, 2007, to May 12, 2012.
During that time he was an independent financial adviser for ING North America Corp., managing the deferred compensation accounts of active and retired city employees.
Harada convinced at least 22 people to withdraw money from their deferred compensation accounts to reinvest in a mutual fund he said was authorized by ING, said Chris Van Marter, deputy city prosecutor. Instead of putting the money into a mutual fund, Harada put it in his personal account and spent it for his own use, Van Marter said.
When investigators questioned him, Harada admitted being responsible for $1.5 million to $2 million, but authorities place the amount at $2.2 million, Van Marter said.
Van Marter said the investigation is continuing and that following last month’s indictment, authorities found another victim.
Police arrested Harada May 18 and released him the following day without charges pending further investigation.
Five days later, Bank of America National Association filed foreclosure papers against Harada and his wife in state court, accusing them of defaulting on the $180,000 mortgage on their Kapolei home.
According to the foreclosure filing, the Haradas signed the $180,000 note in March 2004 and have been in default since September 2007. As of May 1 they owe $274,255 in principal, interest and for an advance on escrow, according to the filing.
©2012 The Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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