Late Thursday morning, the Honolulu FBI and Hawaii (County) Police arrested JUSTIN WADE SMITH, age 32, without incident in Hilo, Hawaii. The underlying investigation was conducted by the Honolulu FBI and the IRS Criminal Investigative Division. The defendant was transported to Honolulu late Thursday and spend the night at the Federal Detention Center his Friday arraignment in federal court.
The defendant was indicted by a Honolulu Federal Grand Jury on Wednesday (8/21/2013) on 39 counts of Wire Fraud. The indictment alleges that:
- SMITH falsely claimed to be an heir to a sizable trust fund but needed money from others to access his inheritance. He allegedly promised sizable investment returns to those who helped him by providing money for purported fees. The indictment alleges that he was not a trust fund heir and that the money he received was not used to access his inheritance.
- SMITH falsely claimed to represent a federal law enforcement agency seeking money from investors to fund law enforcement operations. He allegedly promised investors sizable returns that would be derived from law enforcement seizures. The indictment alleges that SMITH does not, in fact, represent any law enforcement agency and the money he accepted was not used for law enforcement purposes.
According to the indictment, multiple individuals provided SMITH with over $1 million relating to the schemes detailed above.
The FBI is seeking the public’s help in identifying other potential victims currently unknown to investigators. To date, over 30 alleged victims have come forward on Oahu, Big Island, Maui, and Las Vegas. Investigators suspect there are others we have not yet identified since many of the investments apparently took place using cash. If anyone believes they may have been victimized by the defendant (photo attached) or has information to provide regarding these allegations, they should contact the FBI office in Kona (Big Island), Hawaii at 808-329-5106.
SMITH will appear in Honolulu U.S. District Court today (Friday 8/23/2013) at 2:30 p.m. before Magistrate Judge Puglisi. The U.S. Attorneys Office will have a formal press release Friday afternoon. The indictment should be unsealed by the clerk Friday afternoon and available on the court’s PACER website. If I can get my hands on a copy, I will push it out to you late this afternoon.
For each of the 39 wire fraud counts, Smith faces a maximum period of imprisonment of 20 years, a fine of up to $250,000. As always, please remember that an indictment is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.