by Andrew Walden
The Ponzi scheme allegedly run by Rep Beth Fukumoto’s ex-husband David Chang took another hit this week. A ‘Cease and Desist’ order from the Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs puts the kibosh on a $2.3M scam involving a non-existent Kapolei building. Chang’s WealthBridge company is named in the Order as the fake developer’s “agent for the purpose of obtaining funding….”
According to DCCA, the Kapolei scammers were allegedly fleecing their victims between Oct. 12, 2007 and Oct. 11, 2011 and "continue to advertise the project." Fukumoto married David Chang on July 20, 2012 and he divorced her on February 28, 2017. Unfortunately for Fukumoto, HNN September 7, 2017 reports the FBI is investigating WealthBridge and Chang Holding Co schemes from 2012 thru 2016—all years in which Chang and Fukumoto were married.
The news of an FBI investigation into Chang, which first broke September 7, 2017, certainly places a new light on Fukumoto’s party switch reasoning. As a newly-minted Democrat, Fukumoto receives the customary protection from the local media who have avoided any mention of her relationship to Chang.
How much involvement did Fukumoto have in her husband’s businesses?
Fukumoto’s Long-Form Financial Disclosures from 2013, 2014, and 2016 include many details:
--Chang received salary "At least $50,000 but less than $100,000" as CEO of Chang Holding Co., valued his company stock in excess of $1M, and had borrowed amounts ranging from $50K to $250K from six different banks.
--Under "Nature of Business", instead of “Ponzi Scheme,” Fukumoto in 2016 wrote “Holding company for sub-companies WealthBridge Inc. (wealth management), WealthBridge Accounting (tax, accounting, bookkeeping), Home Care Solutions (private-duty home care services), GreenTech Pacific (green energy), Hawaii Pet Nanny (pet sitting company), The Art of Thinking SMART (writing, online blog), Pacific West Imports and Exports (import and export).”
--Fukumoto’s 2016 disclosure demonstrates intimate knowledge of the Company business. She includes details such as:
Item #1 Ownership or beneficial interest transferred during this disclosure period Transferred Hawaii Pet Nanny to Chang Holding Company… Date of transfer Dec 01, 2015…
Item #2 Ownership or beneficial interest transferred during this disclosure period Home Care Solutions transferred to Chang Holding Company… Date of transfer Apr 25, 2015.
Home Care Solutions was named in the September 7, 2017 HNN report:
At least one investor was willing to sue Chang, saying she put 175-thousand dollars in Just Black Holdings in 2012, with the promise that she'd get 10% back two years later….
By April of 2016, four years after the investment was made, she finally demanded her money back. That same month, sources say, Chang sent an email to his staff, which Hawaii News Now has obtained and confirmed it is part of the state and federal investigations.
The email tells his employees that two, elderly sisters were collectively putting $238,000 in another Chang Holding company -- Home Care Solutions -- to pay, in advance, for their long-term health care.
The email appears to order the money to be divided into four parts, with $100,000 to JBH. Court records show, the woman who sued then got $100,000 from JBH, the same month….
Campaign finance reports show Fukumoto receiving four contributions totaling $1,424.50 from Wealth Bridge personnel:
- $500 -- 6-15-12
- $474.50 -- 5-10-16
Michael North (WealthBridge ‘Senior Executive of Business Development’)
- $250 -- 5-12-16
- $200 -- 6-28-16
The February 28, 2017 Fukumoto-Chang Divorce Decree (in which the plaintiff was David Chang) includes the following clause:
"Plaintiff is awarded all rights and interests in Chang Holding Company and any all other business projects, entities owned by the plaintiff." (pg 5 of Divorce Decree)
Chang contacted Hawai’i Free Press after the September 7 Hawaii News Now report and stated: “…A former disgruntled employee that tried to start another competing firm is the one who made those false allegations. …the information they reported was false and in my opinion if I wasn't the former chair of the GOP, they wouldn't have even run the story. Lynn Kawano at Hawaii News Now was extremely biased and even though I tried to explain the truth, she merely sensationalized it.”
Newly-minted Democrat Beth Fukumoto has not responded to a request for comment.