Business/In Brief • July 31, 2013

Man pleads guilty to securities fraud

HONOLULU – A financial adviser is pleading guilty to swindling $2.2 million from Honolulu city employees and retirees.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports Bruce Harada pleaded guilty Tuesday to securities fraud and money laundering.

According to an indictment, the 55-year-old was an independent financial adviser for ING North America Corp. when he committed the crimes from April 2007 to May 2012.

Prosecutors say he convinced at least 22 people to withdraw money from their deferred compensation accounts to reinvest in a mutual fund he claimed was authorized by ING.

Prosecutors say he put the money in his personal account and spent it.

Harada faces up to 30 years in prison and a $75,000 fine when he’s sentenced Jan. 14.


Consultant critical of energy plan

HONOLULU – A consultant hired by state regulators says Hawaiian Electric Co. hasn’t adequately addressed how the rapid growth of solar panels is affecting the utility’s grid.

Maui-based energy consultant Carl Freedman says a recent strategy report prepared by Hawaiian Electric failed to account for revenue the utility is losing as more customers install photovoltaic panels and generate their own electricity instead of buying it from HECO.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Tuesday the consultant didn’t certify Hawaiian Electric’s report because of these and other concerns he has.

The utility prepared the 2,200-page report to outline how it plans to meet a legally binding mandate to generate 40 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

HECO officials issued a statement saying they were reviewing Freedman’s findings.