WAILUKU - Former Maui mayoral candidate Nelson Waikiki Jr. was arraigned Tuesday on securities fraud charges in connection with an investment scheme involving Opunui Water Co. and Opunui Land and Water Co.
Waikiki, 48, of Pukalani was arrested Monday on a four-count indictment charging him with failure to meet securities registration requirements, failure to meet broker-dealer requirements and two counts of general securities fraud.
He pleaded not guilty to the charges Tuesday.
According to the indictment returned by a 2nd Circuit Court grand jury, more than a dozen people - including a hui of eight people - invested more than $100,000 with Waikiki, who wasn't a registered securities broker, from July Waikiki 2008 to December.
Waikiki falsely told investors that all land developers and private landowners in the state would be required to contact Opunui Water Co. "on all water usage," according to a preliminary order to cease and desist in the sale of unregistered securities issued by Hawaii Securities Commissioner Tung Chan last July.
Waikiki promised investors certain percentages of future profits, with the collective amount exceeding 100 percent, the order said.
An Aug. 19 trial is set in 2nd Circuit Court for Waikiki, who was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail. Deputy Attorney General Albert Cook said each charge against Waikiki is a Class A felony carrying a penalty of up to 20 years in prison.
Judge Richard Bissen ordered cash-only bail status for Waikiki, pending his bail hearing Friday before Judge Rhonda Loo. If released on bail, Waikiki was ordered to report for supervision and random drug and alcohol testing.