UPDATE: Man Arrested by FBI in Hilo on 39 Counts of Wire Fraud
Update: Smith pleaded not guilty at his arraignment this afternoon, Aug. 23.
The Federal Bureau of Investigations announced today that Hawai`i County Police have arrested Justin Wade Smith, 32, in connection with 39 counts of wire fraud.
Smith was taken into custody late Thursday morning, Aug. 22 in Hilo after a joint investigation between the Honolulu FBI and the IRS. He was flown to Honolulu, and is currently being held at the Federal Detention Center pending his arraignment today in federal court.
A Honolulu Federal Grand Jury had indicted Smith on Aug. 21. According to the FBI, Smith is accused of committing the following offenses:
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 provided to the press by the FBI, multiple people provided Smith with over $1 million relating to his various alleged schemes.
The FBI is asking for the public’s help in locating and identifying other potential victims investigators may not be aware of. Over 30 people have come forward to date on Oahu, the Big Island and Maui in addition to Las Vegas.
As many of Smith’s investments took place using cash, authorities believe there are more victims still to be identified.
For each of the 39 wire fraud counts, Smith faces a maximum period of imprisonment of 20 years and a fine of up to $250,000.
The FBI asks those who know of or may have been involved in the alleged activities of the defendant to contact their Kona office at (808)-329-5106.