Washington, DC - Three Hawaii-based executives of a government contractor were indicted Thursday in the District of Columbia for allegedly making unlawful campaign contributions to a candidate for Congress and a political action committee.

According to the indictment, Martin Kao, 48, Clifford Chen, 48, and Lawrence “Kahele” Lum Kee, 52, all of Honolulu, were employed by a defense contractor prohibited from making contributions in federal elections. The defendants allegedly created a shell company and then used that shell company to make an illegal contribution to a political action committee supporting the election of a candidate for the U.S. Senate using government contractor funds. The defendants also allegedly used family members as conduits to make illegal contributions to the campaign committee of the same candidate, and then reimbursed themselves for those donations using funds obtained from their employer.

All three defendants are charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States and to make conduit and government contractor contributions, making conduct contributions, and making government contractor contributions. Kao is also charged with two counts of making false statements for causing the submission of false information to the Federal Election Committee.

Kao, Chen and Lum Kee will make their initial appearance at a later date. If convicted, the defendants face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves for the District of Columbia, Assistant Director in Charge Steven M. D’Antuono of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, and Special Agent in Charge Christopher Dillard, Department of Defense Office of Inspector General, Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS), Mid-Atlantic Field Office, made the announcement.

The FBI’s Washington Field Office and DCIS’s Mid-Atlantic Field Office are investigating the case.

Trial Attorney Lauren Castaldi of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Liz Aloi and Joshua Rothstein of the Fraud, Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia are prosecuting the case.

An indictment is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.