US District Court - Hawaii
US District Court – Hawaii

Former Filipino Chamber of Commerce President Stephen Callo was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court to 30 days in federal prison and three years probation and will have to pay a $3,000 fine.

Callo, a CPA, earlier pleaded guilty to committing wire fraud and lying about his income in 2006 to secure a $550,000 home loan.

In a deal with federal prosecutors, Callo pleaded guilty and had 13 other charges dropped that were tied to his involvement in Hawaii’s most expansive mortgage fraud case.

Callo and 13 others were charged in August 2010 with wire fraud, conspiracy and making false statements on loan applications for 90 Oahu properties leading to subprime mortgage lenders being defrauded out of millions of dollars over a 5-year period spanning from 2003 to 2008. According to federal prosecutors, Estrellita Garo Miguel allegedly masterminded the scheme through his company, Easy Mortgage Corp.

FBI Special Agent Tom Simon

Honolulu FBI Special Agent Tom Simon said: “Simply put, certified public accountants should not be involved in financial fraud schemes.  It’s a profession that relies on integrity and the public’s trust.  If a CPA tells you financial figures are accurate, you should be able to rely on that as the gospel truth. “

“It’s very disappointing that Mr. Callo would betray his own profession’s ethical standards by lying about financial data for his own personal gain. The Honolulu FBI will be referring this case to regulatory authorities for administrative sanctions that may include stripping Mr. Callo of his CPA license and professional designation.”

Callo is the second past Filipino Chamber of Commerce president to plead guilty to fraud in recent months.

Jason Pascua, a former Democratic House candidate and US Army Reservist, pleaded guilty in federal court in May 2013 to defrauding $1.6 million from nearly three-dozen victims.

Pascua was the Filipino Chamber of Commerce president and also worked with the Japanese Chamber of Commerce.

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