Smith charged with running an advance fee scheme

HONOLULU — A Hilo man was arraigned Friday on federal wire fraud charges for allegedly taking more than $1 million from individuals in an “advance fee” scheme.

A federal grand jury indicted Justin Wade Smith, 32, on Wednesday, in a 39-count federal indictment.

Smith was arrested in Hilo on Thursday, according to a press release from the Honolulu District office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

FBI Special Agent Tom Simon said that to date, more than 30 alleged victims from Oahu, Big Island, Maui, and Las Vegas have been identified. Investigators believe there may be more victims who haven’t yet come forward.

It is not known at this time if there are any Kauai residents who are victims in this alleged scheme.

“Because many of the transactions in this case involved cash with little paper trail, we believe there may be other victims that we haven’t identified,” Simon said. “Accordingly, the FBI is asking that anybody with knowledge of this alleged fraud give us a call.”

Vida Bottom, Special Agent in Charge of the Honolulu Field Office of the FBI, is asking that any individuals having knowledge of Smith’s activities call the FBI Kona Resident Agency at (808) 329-5106.

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