Prince Kuhio Federal Building
Prince Kuhio Federal Building (Photo: Emily Metcalf)
Prince Kuhio Federal Building
Prince Kuhio Federal Building (Photo: Emily Metcalf)

Curtis Wayne Ross claimed he was a United Nations ambassador with special protections under the United States tax amnesty laws that permitted him to move money into international financial transactions.

The Honolulu resident who lived in Las Vegas part time, operated MRN Trading Company and GLC Funding Group, and told potential investors he was a multimillionaire with energy and investment companies.

Ross offered investment opportunities in international gold and diamond transactions and a waste-to-energy company, telling potential investors he could secure for them short term, high yielding returns of between 17 percent and 400 percent.

On Thursday, August 1, Ross was indicted for defrauding four investors of $167,000. Victims lost between $6,000 and $100,000.

Ross was neither a UN ambassador with special tax privileges nor a multimillionaire investor with international trade connections, according to federal court records.

Ross never invested his clients’ money, and instead he spent the money on himself to pay personal expenses, a federal indictment said.

Since Ross’ indictment on August 1, he has not been arrested. The court has issued a penal summons for Ross to appear in court, according to FBI Special Agent Tom Simon, who was in charge of the investigation into Ross.

Simon said during the past four years in Hawaii, there has been an “epidemic of Ponzi schemes plaguing the Hawaii economy.”

On May 24, Jason Pascua, a U.S. Army reservist and former Hawaii House of Representatives candidate, entered a plea of “guilty” and admitted to U.S. District Judge Leslie Kobayashi that he defrauded 29 investors of $1.4 million over three years.

Just minutes after Pascua pleaded guilty in federal court, a father and daughter on Maui were indicted for running an $8 million Ponzi scheme. George Lindell, 65, and his daughter, Holly Hoaeae, 39, on 17 counts of operating an alleged pyramid or “Ponzi” scheme between January 2005 and November 2010. They allegedly took more than $8 million from their victims.

In recent another case, Peter Heckmann, 53, was indicted by federal grand jury in Honolulu in 2007 on seven counts of wire fraud. Heckmann operated a Ponzi scheme, convincing Kauai residents to invest $1.2 million in his failing recording studio in exchange for returns of between 10-to-15 percent within two weeks.

While he fled the country after he learned of his indictment, Heckmann turned himself in to authorities this April after the FBI launched a worldwide manhunt in January 2013.

“Hopefully, this latest case will serve as a lesson to the people of Hawaii to investigate before they invest,” Simon said.

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