Former Maui County Official Sentenced to Ten Years in Federal Prison for Honest Services Wire Fraud
News Release from U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Hawaii, Wednesday, February 8, 2023
HONOLULU – Chief United States District Judge Derrick K. Watson sentenced Stewart Olani Stant, 55, of Maui, today to serve ten years in federal prison and pay a $1.9M money judgment forfeiture for honest services wire fraud consisting of acceptance of multiple bribes in the form of cash, bank deposits, and gambling trips to Las Vegas in order to provide lucrative sole source contracts from Maui County’s Department of Environmental Management to businessman Milton Choy.
According to information presented to the court, Stant was a public official employed by Maui County’s Department of Environmental Management (“DEM”), who held the position of Director of DEM between approximately December 2015 and December 2018. Between October 2012 and December 2018, Stant accepted bribery payments from Choy comprised of cash, bank deposits, casino chips, travel benefits, and/or other gifts, totaling up to $2,000,000, in exchange for Stant’s agreement, in his official capacity as a Maui County official at DEM, to steer and award over $19 million dollars in sole source contracts and purchase orders to Choy’s company. By accepting the bribes to funnel contracts and corruptly failing to disclose them, Stant defrauded the citizens of Maui County of their right to his honest and conflict free services as a public official.
“Mr. Stant was a public official given the discretion to use government funds for public contracts with the public’s expectation that he would do so honestly. By directing public contracts to a specific company in exchange for money and other financial benefits, all in violation of federal law and state ethics requirements, he failed to discharge that responsibility faithfully,” said U.S. Attorney Clare E. Connors. “This office is committed to prosecuting public officials who criminally abuse their official positions to serve their personal interests and thereby deprive the people of Hawaii of honest services.”
"Mr. Stant was a public servant entrusted by the taxpayers to act in their best interest," said Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent in Charge Steven Merrill. “Instead, he violated that trust by accepting nearly $2 million in bribes. Today's sentence sends a clear message: the FBI will work tirelessly to investigate public corruption and bring those responsible to justice."
The Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted the investigation that resulted in the prosecution. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ken Sorenson, Micah Smith and Michael Albanese handled the prosecution.
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