BY JIM DOOLEY – A federal grand jury has indicted eight persons for their alleged involvement in a massive Big Island gambling operation that involved millions of dollars in wagers.
Charged in the case are:
- Eric Ford, 45
- Marlo Banasan, 34
- Matthew Phillips, 39
- Kendale Limahai, 47
- Robert Bland, 35
- Jonah Yardley, 37
- Trevor Carter, 24
- Barbara Ford, 44
The indictment, unsealed today, alleges that Eric Ford ran a sports betting business and other gambling operations from 2009 to this month, principally out of a Kailua-Kona business called Aloha Springs Water Company.
The company was formed here in 2007 and Eric Ford is listed in state business records as its manager, according to state records.
The indictment alleged that Eric and Barbara Ford used money order purchases to hide the proceeds of the gambling business.
The enterprise had gross revenues of more than $2,000 in one day and in mid-2011 “a person known to the grand jury counted $3 million,” the indictment said.
Besides the Fords, other defendants in the case are accused of assisting in the sports betting and card game operations.
The business used an offshore sports betting site called www.wager.dm, according to the indictment.
That site has been closed for construction, a check today revealed.
The case was investigated by Hawaii Police, the FBI and the IRS.
“This case began with some great investigative work from the Hawaii Police, and we were proud to supplement their efforts with federal law enforcement resources,” said FBI Special Agent Tom Simon.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Nammar is prosecuting the case.