September 24, 1942
|Died||December 2017 (aged 75)|
|Occupation||Investment adviser, football player, alleged CIA agent|
|Criminal status||Released in 1995|
|Criminal charge||wire fraud and mail fraud|
|Penalty||80 years imprisonment|
Ronald Rewald (September 24, 1942 – December 2017) was a former Hawaii investment advisor, professional football player and self-described CIA agent who was convicted of wire fraud and mail fraud in 1985.
According to Rewald, he attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, then spent a year working for the CIA monitoring underground anti-government activity at the University of Wisconsin–Madison before leaving the CIA and attending Marquette University, where he played football. There is evidence that this was a fabrication and that he only attended Milwaukee Area Technical College.
Rewald's football skills did attract interest from professional teams in the National and American Football Leagues. He signed with the Cleveland Browns in 1965 and trained with the Kansas City Chiefs in 1966. In 1965 Rewald played halfback for the West Allis Racers in the Central States Football League while on a one-year leave of absence from the Chiefs.
After his football career ended, Rewald became president of a sporting goods store in Wisconsin called College Athletic and expanded the business across Illinois, Minnesota and Ohio before selling the franchise and moving to Hawaii with his wife and five children.
Bishop, Baldwin, Rewald, Dillingham and Wong
In 1978 Rewald established an investment firm in Hawaii called "Bishop, Baldwin, Rewald, Dillingham and Wong". The firm's name incorporated the names of Rewald and his partner Sunlin Wong along with the names of three prominent kama'aina who had no connection with the business: Charles Reed Bishop, Henry Alexander Baldwin and Benjamin Dillingham. The firm claimed that funds were guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation up to $150,000 and that minimum returns of 20% annually were guaranteed. (As the firm was not a chartered bank it was not eligible for FDIC insurance.)
In 1983, the Internal Revenue Service began an investigation of Rewald when his firm's false FDIC insurance claims were discovered. On July 29, 1983, Rewald attempted suicide at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel, allegedly because the media was on the verge of exposing his background. Six days later, the company was forced into bankruptcy. Rewald was arrested on August 8, 1983, immediately after his release from the hospital, and was charged with theft by deception. He was held in lieu of $10 million bail. He faced 98 charges and a maximum of 400 years in prison. Sunlin Wong pleaded guilty and was sentenced to two years imprisonment.
In reality, the investment firm had been a Ponzi scheme. Rewald used money from new investors to pay interest to earlier investors, all the while siphoning off funds to pay for his lavish lifestyle.
In addition to its Hawaii operation, the firm had also opened a branch in Auckland, New Zealand sometime in the 1980s. New Zealand television reports have suggested that Rewald or his firm was involved in the Māori loan affair of 1986–87.
Rewald presented a surprising defense, claiming that his business had been a front for the Central Intelligence Agency. Rewald's trial lasted for eleven weeks in 1985. 140 witnesses were called. Rewald was convicted on 94 counts of fraud, perjury, and tax evasion and sentenced to 80 years in prison.
In 1995 Rewald was released on parole from the Federal Correctional Institution on Terminal Island, California. Rewald remained on parole until 2001. In 2010, Rewald lived in Los Angeles and worked as director of operations for the APA talent agency in Beverly Hills. A company official confirmed his death to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser in March 2018.
- In the Matter of Bishop, Baldwin, Rewald, Dillingham & Wong,inc., a Hawaii Corporation, Debtor.reynaldo D. Graulty, Trustee of Bishop, Baldwin, Rewald,dillingham & Wong, Inc., and Not Individually,plaintiff-appellant, v. Bank of Hawaii, Defendant-appellee - 856 F.2d 78
- United States of America, Plaintiff-appellee, v. Ronald Rewald, Defendant-appellant - 835 F.2d 215
- Riches v. Rewald et al
- RONALD R. REWALD, PETITIONER V. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
- Associated Press (22 October 1985). "Rewald Convicted in Hawaiian Trial". Spokane Chronicle. Retrieved 7 January 2011.
- "Rewald got on alumni list for $10, witness says" (PDF). Milwaukee Journal. 11 September 1985. Retrieved 8 January 2011.
- "Former South Gridder Signs with Browns". Milwaukee Journal. 26 January 1965. Retrieved 8 January 2011.
- Associated Press (16 July 1966). "Chiefs Start Work with 39 Rookies". Lawrence Journal-World. Retrieved 7 January 2011.
- John Stover (24 September 1965). "Rifles Draw Bead on Racer Defense". Milwaukee Journal. Retrieved 9 January 2011.
- Ragnar Carlson (1 April 2009). "Don't get fooled again". Honolulu Weekly. Retrieved 8 January 2011.
- "779 F. 2d 471 - Bishop Baldwin Rewald Dillingham Wong Inc Hayes v. Rewald". United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit. 13 December 1984. Retrieved 8 January 2011.
- "Fantasy Island, Aloha-Style". Time. 3 October 1983. Retrieved 8 January 2011.
- Rob Shikina (25 November 2010). "Con man Rewald directs a Los Angeles talent agency". Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Archived from the original on 31 December 2010. Retrieved 7 January 2011.
- Hensley, Gerald Final Approaches: A Memoir p. 293 (2006, Auckland University Press, NZ) ISBN 1 86940 378 9
- Michael Keany, Jenny de Jesús and A. Kam Napier (April 2008). "Rogues, Rascals and Villains". Honolulu Magazine. Retrieved 8 January 2011.
- Gomes, Andrew (18 March 2018). "Hawaii Ponzi schemer and professed secret agent dies at 76". Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Retrieved 1 August 2018.