FBI special agents and Maui police arrested a 37-year-old Kula woman Thursday on charges relating to an alleged Ponzi scheme in 2006 that bilked six Maui investors of $882,000.
Jedidah Duarosan, also known as Jedidah Abara, appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Richard Puglisi on Thursday afternoon, where she pleaded not guilty and was released on bond.
A trial is scheduled for Jan. 3 in U.S. District Court.
The charge is interstate transportation of stolen property, which entails a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
According to an indictment handed up by the federal grand jury in Honolulu, in October 2006, Duarosan and a San Francisco-area resident identified as R.M. made investment pitches promising 5 percent per month returns, plus a cash bonus at the conclusion. The investments were structured as loans for a term of 90 days.
The money was to be invested in real estate in the Philippines, gold in Indonesia or oil.
The grand jurors allege that Duarosan kept $106,-000 for personal use and put down $60,000 toward a purchase of Maui real estate. When the transaction failed to close, the nonrefundable deposit was forfeited.
Also, in November 2006, Duarosan is said to have paid $100,000 as a refund to an unnamed person, "A.M.," who had earlier invested with R.M.
R.M. is not indicted in the Ponzi scheme, which is a crime in which money taken for investment is used to pay off promises to earlier investors, without realizing any legitimate business gains.
The specific allegation is that on Nov. 28, 2006, Duarosan made a wire transfer of $100,000 from her account at Maui County Employees Federal Credit Union to A.M.'s bank on the Mainland "knowing that the money had been stolen, converted and taken by fraud."
* Harry Eagar can be reached at email@example.com.