Koror, Palau – On Wednesday, December 8, 2021, former Ngaraard State Governor, Benjamin Iskawa, entered a plea agreement in the case involving the Jia Ren Massage Parlor, Koror, Palau.
Presiding Justice, Kathleen Salii, accepted the plea agreement presented by the parties following inquiry of Mr. Iskawa. Mr. Iskawa entered guilty pleas to:
- Count 1 – Misconduct in Public Office by committing Unsworn Falsification to Authorities (a felony); Count 2 – a Code of Ethics violation by failing to list his income or liabilities for the Jia Ren Massage Parlor, which was owned and operated by Mr. Iskawa, on his Financial Disclosure Statement for calendar year 2019 (a misdemeanor);
- Count 6, violation of the Unified Tax Act by failing to maintain business records for the Jia Ren Massage Parlor (a misdemeanor);
- Count 7, a violation of the Unified Tax Act by filing a tax return containing false information of having no employees in the third tax quarter of 2019 (a felony); and,
- Count 10, a violation of the Foreign Investment Act, when he knowingly assisted a co-defendant, Yanxiang Zu, by operating what is commonly known as a “front business” (a misdemeanor). Ms. Zu previously pled guilty and was sentenced on a violation of the Foreign Investment Act and Promoting Prostitution in the Second Degree.
A separate sentencing hearing will be held on Monday, January 10, 2022, at 1:30 p.m. in Courtroom 101 of the Judiciary Building, Koror.