“The people of Hawaii need to learn that there is no such thing as an investment with guaranteed returns of 25 percent to 50 percent. Somehow these cases keep recurring here. It’s baffling."
-FBI Special Agent Tom Simon
A Hawaii man who once ran for political office was indicted on charges that his concert and promotion business was a Ponzi scheme that took in over $1 million from at least 29 Hawaii families. Jason Pascua, a U.S. Army Reservist and former candidate for the Hawaii House of Representatives, was charged with a single count of wire fraud, which carries a maximum prison sentence of twenty years in prison as well as criminal monetary penalties. According to authorities, Pascua is not currently in Hawaii and has not been arrested, with news reports suggesting that he will plead guilty upon his return on May 23, 2013.
Pascua was the sole owner of J2 Marketing Solutions ("J2"), which purported to be in the concert and nightclub promotions industry. 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 nearly 30 Hawaii families.
However, according to authorities, Pascua did not use investor funds to promote concerts or night club events. Rather, he diverted funds for his own personal use, as well as pay fictitious returns to investors. Ironically, Pascua did use some funds for event promotion - but those events were pet expos at a popular Hawaii entertainment complex.