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A self-proclaimed investment expert who touted himself as “Hawaii’s Fittest CEO” is in a lot of trouble. The state says David Low took hundreds of thousands of dollars from investors, but spent the money on himself.
Low wasn’t shy of showing off his braun in front of the camera.
He first drew attention in 2007 when chosen as Hawaii’s Top Male fittest CEO. But now he’s singing a different tune.
He was picked up Tuesday on a $110,000 bench warrant.
The State says he used his company Hawaii Capital Management to commit fraud. He employed deceptive schemes and devices to conceal the fraud such as forging documents, using one investor’s money to pay a return to another investor, and issuing false financial statements of fictitious accounts and account balances.
A preliminary order to cease and desist by the State Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs says between 2010 and 2012 Low and his company got three investors to purchase over 257,000 in securities. But none of that money was ever invested as promised.
Instead, Low spent the money on car payments to Mercedes-Benz, Audi Hawaii and the City & County of Honolulu for registration fees of a Ferrari. Plus, other personal expenses: retail purchases, groceries, dining and entertainment, gym membership, rent, credit card payments, and cash withdrawals.
“In any industry there are a few bad apples, that effect the industry as a whole,” financial advisor Rich Pinto said.
Pinto has been a financial advisor for 20 years and helped us sort through what these investors missed that eventually got them burned.
“I would say the biggest is co-mingling or pooling the money,” Pinto said.
The state order says Low allegedly told the investors their money would be put in an annuity, Roth IRA or “pooled” for their future use and benefit.
“Any time anyone says pool funds, that’s very inappropriate, very illegal, cannot do that,” Pinto said.
Pinto adds that investors have to do their homework on a person or company they are trusting with their money.
The state says Low was not even registered to transact securities in Hawaii.
“Always ask for references, who they’ve done business with,” Pinto said.
Low is charged with five counts of theft. If he’s convicted, he could potentially receive 10 years in prison for each count.
He is expected to make an appearance in Judge Richard Perkins courtroom Monday, August 12 at 8:30 a.m.