Kauai Police Commissioner Convicted of Running Illegal Sports Betting Ring


Bradley Chiba Had Been Running His Betting Ring for 2 Years When He Was Appointed Police Commissioner

On Friday, former Kauai Police Commissioner Bradley Chiba was sentenced to 6 months in prison for running an illegal sports betting ring. Chiba, 37, pleaded guilty to running an illegal sports gambling operation and filing a false tax return.

Bradley Chiba appeared in a U.S. District Court, where District Judge Leslie Kobayashi passed the sentence on the city official. After he is released from prison, Kobayashi sentenced Chiba to six months of home detention. During that time, Mr. Chiba will be required to wear a monitoring device.

Additional Terms of the Sentence

Other terms of the sentence include 3 years of supervised release, 50 hours of community service, and a $3,000 fine. Also, Chiba agreed as part of his plea bargain to forfeit roughly $29,000 in betting revenues, which were seized from his home and bank account when police busted the crime ring.

Stemming from the illegal sports betting operation were tax evasion charges, too. Bradley Chiba pleaded guilty to falsely reporting his adjusted gross income on his 2012 tax return. To settle his accounts with the Internal Revenue Service, Chiba agreed to pay $11,096 in restitution to the IRS for his lapsed 2012 taxes.

Illegal 2012 Tax Return

Chiba filed a 2012 tax return which reported he earned $99,880 as a police commissioner. He failed to report the $39,779 he made as an illegal bookmaker, so his adjusted income was incorrect. Under circumstances where he knowingly failed to report earnings, this is considered an illegal tax return.

In Mr. Chiba’s plea agreement, he admitted to running a sports betting operation in league with 8 other individuals. The operation continued from August 2009 until February 2014. Chiba operated the crime ring from his home.

How the Sports Betting Worked

Police collected detailed knowledge of how the Hawaiian sports betting syndicate operated. Each week during football season, Chiba would email line sheets to his players and his agents, who would arrange the bets. For games which took place during the week, Chiba would text line sheets to those involved.

Once players had decided on their bets, they would send Chiba their wagers via email. The gambling operators then would make wagers on an Internet sports betting site. Chiba would coordinate this activity each week, paying off the winners and collecting money from the losers.

Classic 6/5 Sports Gambling Ring

Police describe the sports betting ring as a typical 6/5 operation. Juice on the bets was on the 6/5 or 120/100 model, meaning players would pay an additional 20% juice on each wager they lost. Because Chiba could place the bets online for a significanly smaller vigorish, he could make a profit while making these wagers. This was the cost of having Bradley Chiba process the wagers.

Why 21st Century Gamblers Call a Bookie

Such a system worked, because Hawaii has a 100% ban on gambling of any kind. Hawaii, along with Utah, is one of only two states in the USA which has a total ban on all forms of gambling.

Those who want to gamble on sports in Hawaii might prefer to have a bookie place wagers online, instead of doing it at an non-licensed offshore website themselves. Not only would this remove them one step from traceable illegal activity, but they are also more likely to trust a member of their own community to pay them, than some faceless offshore operator. Under those circumstances, paying a higher juice makes more sense to the gambler. Of course, some of those gambling might not be savvy to the traditional vig offered in online sports betting, which is often 5% or less.

Bradley Chiba’s Time as Police Commissioner

Bradley Chiba was appointed to a partial term as a police commission in 2011. In 2012, Mayor Bernard Carvalho reappointed Chiba to a full 3-year term as police commissioner. By the time of his appointment, Chiba had already been operating his illegal gambling ring for two years.

Though he is no longer a member of the police commission, Bradley Chiba is still listed as an administrator of the Kauai Intake Services Center. When asked why Chiba has not been removed from the administrative position, Department of Public Safety spokesperson Toni Schwartz said, “There is still an on-going internal investigation that requires the receipt of the final sentencing documents before we can move forward.