Cash-only bail requirement maintained in fraud case
WAILUKU – With a report showing no verified residence or employment for former Maui mayoral candidate Nelson Waikiki Jr., a judge Friday kept his bail at $100,000 on securities fraud charges connected to an investment scheme involving Opunui Water Co. and Opunui Land and Water Co.
Second Circuit Judge Rhonda Loo also maintained the cash-only requirement for posting bail.
Waikiki, 48, was arrested Monday on a four-count indictment charging him with failure to meet securities registration requirements, failure to meet broker-dealer requirements and two counts of general securities fraud.
He has pleaded not guilty to the charges, with an Aug. 19 trial date set.
According to the indictment returned by a 2nd Circuit Court grand jury, more than a dozen people – including a hui of eight people – invested more than $100,000 with Waikiki, who wasn’t a registered securities broker, from July 2008 to December 2012.
Waikiki allegedly falsely told investors that all land developers and private landowners in the state would be required to contact Opunui Water Co. “on all water usage,” according to a preliminary order to cease and desist in the sale of unregistered securities issued by Hawaii Securities Commissioner Tung Chan last July.
Waikiki promised investors certain percentages of future profits, with the collective amount exceeding 100 percent, the order said.
In court Friday, Deputy Public Defender Jared Brickey asked the court to consider reducing Waikiki’s bail on the felony charges, each carrying a penalty of up to 20 years in prison. “They are allegations at this point, and they are not yet proven,” Brickey said.
He said Waikiki is from Maui and has lived here all his life.
But Deputy Prosecutor Timothy Tate said that a bail study showed no verified residence or employment for Waikiki. Police said Waikiki was arrested at a relative’s residence in Pukalani.
Waikiki has prior convictions for abuse and driving under the influence of an intoxicant, Tate said. “He does present a danger to the community.”
A grand jury found there was probable cause to believe that Waikiki committed the crimes, leading to his indictment, the prosecutor said.
Brickey questioned the cash-only bail requirement, saying that to be imposed, it had to be shown that Waikiki was a flight risk or likely to commit further crimes if released.
Tate said the cash-only requirement was reasonable.
At the hearing Friday, Tate was standing in for Deputy Attorney General Albert Cook, who is handling prosecution of the case.
Waikiki is being held at the Maui Community Correctional Center.
* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.