APNewsBreak: New charges brought in Honolulu corruption case

AP News
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Posted: Jan 03, 2018 10:45 PM
APNewsBreak: New charges brought in Honolulu corruption case

HONOLULU (AP) — The deputy city prosecutor wife of a Honolulu police chief convinced a man whose trust she allegedly stole from when he was a child to lie for her before a grand jury looking into corruption allegations against the couple, according to court documents filed Wednesday.

The documents charge Ransen Taito with conspiracy, alleging that he lied to a grand jury about what happened to this trust fund.

A grand jury indicted Louis and Katherine Kealoha in October, accusing them and current and former officers of framing her uncle to discredit him in a family financial dispute. The indictment also included allegations that while Katherine Kealoha was in private practice, she stole $150,000 from trusts of two children under her guardianship.

She was court-appointed in 2004 as trustee and guardian for the children, then 12 and 10. The siblings' father received money in a medical malpractice settlement before he died, their grandmother, Marlene Drew, has told The Associated Press.

Taito is one of the children.

Taito and his sister didn't know Kealoha was stealing from them, especially because she would give them some money here and there, Drew said. They called Kealoha "aunty" out of respect and affection, she said.

According to the charging documents against Taito, Kealoha threatened that if he didn't lie and say he received all of his money, then his mother would go to jail. Taito lied to the grand jury in April 2016 and said he received all of his money from Kealoha, the documents said.

Taito couldn't immediately be reached for comment Wednesday. His grandmother declined to comment.

The indictment against the Kealohas said Katherine depleted the trust accounts over time, spending the money on her personal expenses. She tried to hide her deception by forging documents and creating a fictional assistant named "Alison Lee Wong," when other attorneys questioned what happened to the trusts, prosecutors said.

The Kealohas and the others charged in their case have pleaded not guilty. Katherine Kealoha's attorney, Cynthia Kagiwada, said she wouldn't comment until she saw the charging documents.