A Hawaiian man who once served as an Army reservist and former president of the Filipino Chamber of Commerce has been sentenced to four years in prison for masterminding a $1.6 million Ponzi scheme that bilked over 30 investors. Jason Pascua, 39, received the sentence after previously pleading guilty to a single count of wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of twenty years in prison. Along with the sentence, Pascua must also pay $1,034,000 in restitution to his victims.
Pascua operated J2 Marketing Solutions ("J2"), which he touted as a profitable concert and nightclub promotions venture. A regular on the political circuit, Pascua frequently mingled with Hawaii politicians and even tried his hand at running for political office in 2010. Pascua also had extensive community ties, having previously served as President of the local Filipino Chamber of Commerce and a marketing director of the Hawaii Central Credit Union.
Beginning in 2009, Pascua used these ties to solicit investors to invest in J2, telling them he worked as a concert and nightclub promoter spliting his time between Honolulu and Las Vegas. Investors were offered the opportunity to earn short-term returns of 25%-50% by financing Pascua's promotion of multiple concert and night club events. Pascua assured investors he would spread their investments over the promotion of multiple events in an effort to "mitigate risk." Ultimately, Pascua would raise more than $1 million from more than 30 victims.
However, according to authorities, Pascua did not use investor funds to promote concerts or night club events. Rather, he diverted funds to pay fictitious returns to investors, as well as for personal expenses that included lavish spending at Las Vegas casinos and nightclubs. Ironically, Pascua did use some funds for event promotion - but those events were pet expos at a popular Hawaii entertainment complex.
Hawaiian authorities have been at a loss to explain the recent "epidemic" of Ponzi schemes targeting Hawaiian citizens. Pascua's case was the third concert promotion Ponzi scheme investigated by authorities in the past several years. And after Pascua entered his guilty plea in May 2013, authorities announced the indictment of a Hawaiian husband and wife for operating an $8 million Ponzi scheme. Ponzitracker has covered other Ponzi schemes perpetrated by or on Hawaiian citizens here, here, here, here, here, and here.
Pascua is scheduled to report to prison in Arizona, where he currently resides and has requested to serve his sentence, on October 24, 2013.