Rogues, Rascals and Villains

A roundup of Hawaii’s most notorious baddies from loveable hucksters to cold-blooded killers.


Published:

(page 2 of 3)


RON REWALD

1980s


Photo courtesy of Paradise of the Pacific

Ah, the ’80s. It’s all coming back to us now. The fleet of luxury cars, the polo matches, the beachfront estate, the hobnobbing with the sultan of Brunei, the … shadowy CIA involvement? Such were the life and fast times of Ron Rewald, titular head of an investment firm called Bishop Baldwin Rewald Dillingham & Wong.

Don’t let those missionary-descendant monikers fool you; the pedigree was fake. Only Rewald and his business partner actually existed. The investments were fake, too. Turns out Rewald was a flamboyant prevaricator, lying about everything from a football career to his education at Marquette University. When Channel 2 broke the news that investigators were zeroing in on Bishop Baldwin, Rewald checked into the Sheraton Waikiki and attempted suicide. He failed, and was arrested and charged with running a Ponzi scheme.

Rewald then claimed he had set up the firm under orders from the CIA, living a lavish lifestyle merely as a cover to get close to such international figures as Filipino banker Enrique Zobel.

Jurors didn’t buy it, and found Rewald guilty, in 1985, of 94 counts of fraud, perjury and tax evasion. In all, Rewald had conned $22 million out of more than 400 local investors, even a widow and a blind man. Originally sentenced to 80 years, Rewald was released in 1995, wheelchair-bound from an injury he sustained in prison, and was on probation in Los Angeles until 2001.

 

GRACE FORTESCUE

1930s



Hawaii long remembers the infamous Massie case of 1932, in which Thalia Massie, wife of a Navy officer, falsely claimed to have been raped by five local men. But perhaps the case should be renamed for its central villain, Grace Fortescue, Thalia’s mother and quite possibly the worst mother-in-law in history.
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