Fines ordered in gambling case

Couple among 23 people charged in sports betting case

WAILUKU — A husband and wife were ordered to pay fines of $2,500 each for placing bets in an illegal sports betting operation.

Elward Alexander, 72, and Chong Alexander, 60, of Kihei were given chances to keep convictions for first-degree promoting of gambling off their records if they comply with court requirements for the next four years.

Each had pleaded no contest to the charge, with other charges dismissed in exchange for their pleas.

The couple were among 23 people arrested and charged for allegedly participating in the betting operation from Oct. 3 to Dec. 21, 2015. Most of the defendants have been sentenced or are awaiting sentencing, while cases are pending against several others.

Defense attorney Cary Virtue, representing the couple, said the amount of money the Alexanders gained from their combined betting was $4,800.

Chong Alexander has no prior criminal record, and her husband’s only conviction is a DUI in 1996, Virtue said.

“It’s highly unlikely this will ever happen again,” he said during sentencing Thursday for the couple.

He said she had given up gambling.

Letters to the court showed Elward Alexander is well known in the community, Virtue said.

“He’s well liked in our community,” Virtue said. “He’s a hard worker. He’s very active.”

Virtue and Deputy Public Defender Mike Kagami agreed to leave the amount of the fines up to 2nd Circuit Judge Peter Cahill.

In sentencing other defendants in the case, Cahill has imposed fines of up to $4,800.

He said the amounts have been based on how much defendants had bet and their income. “The fines have to be proportionate to what people can pay,” Cahill said.

He noted that some defendants relied on Social Security and pension income.

The Alexanders were betting large amounts, Cahill said.

He said the operation didn’t appear to favor gamblers, who would have to bet $120 to win $100.

“Talk about a sucker bet here,” Cahill said. “They’re not even giving even odds. It doesn’t make any sense to me.”

He ordered the Alexanders not to gamble in the state as long as it’s illegal. “And all forms of gambling are currently illegal,” Cahill said.

Another defendant, Valente Madamba, 57, of Kahului, was ordered to pay a $500 fine and given a chance to keep a conviction for first-degree promoting of gambling off his record when he was sentenced April 30, according to court records.

• Lila Fujimoto can be reached at lfujimoto@mauinews.com.


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