Man gets community service in bookmaking case

A Kihei man was ordered to perform 100 hours of community service after being arrested for taking bets on football games in a bookmaking operation two years ago.

Ramil Sijalbo, 31, was given a chance to keep gambling convictions off his record if he follows court requirements for the next five years.

He had pleaded no contest to first-degree possession of gambling records and four counts of first-degree promotion of gambling in connection with a search warrant executed at his residence Jan. 10, 2012.

An investigation showed that, within a seven-day period, Sijalbo had received 381 bets totaling $46,330. Sijalbo was working with a family member to run the operation, according to police.

“People in the community might not think that this is very serious, but it is against the law and it’s a crime,” said Deputy Prosecutor Justine Hura. “Clearly, a lot of investigation went into this case.”

Sijalbo has no prior criminal record.

When he was sentenced May 15, he had a cashier’s check of $5,000 to pay the fine that was agreed to as part of his plea agreement.

“I hope that the defendant learned from this experience, especially to have a group of police officers bang on your door and search your house while your wife and child are at home,” Hura said.

“That should impress on him the seriousness of this offense.”

Second Circuit Judge Joseph Cardoza followed the plea agreement in sentencing Sijalbo.

“We’re disappointed that the police spend their time investigating football bets when there’s a lot of more serious crimes in our community,” defense attorney William Sloper said after the sentencing. “Hopefully, the new administration at the Police Department is not going to spend all this time and energy on football bets.”