Hawaii businessman, ex-Maui County official each plead guilty in political bribery case
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A former Maui County official and the Honolulu businessman who paid him $2 million in bribes in exchange for more than $19 million in wastewater contracts each pleaded guilty Monday in one of the largest bribery cases ever prosecuted in Hawaii.
Stewart Olani Stant, who was formerly a wastewater manager and the director of Maui’s Department of Environmental Management, and Milton Choy, the owner and manager of the wastewater company H2O Process Systems LLC, entered their pleas in separate hearings at U.S. District Court in Honolulu.
They are each scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 4 on one count of honest services wire fraud. Stant faces up to 20 years in prison while Choy faces up to 10.
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In exchange for their pleas, prosecutors won't bring additional charges against them.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Ken Sorenson told reporters after the arraignment hearings that prosecutors will seek charges against those who try to profit off public coffers through bribes or other illicit, corrupt activity.
"We not only have the tools to come after them, we have the motivation to come after them and we will aggressively pursue anybody who violates their public oath and anybody who wants to corruptly affect the process," Sorenson said.
Stant is the latest public servant to admit to taking bribes from Choy.