NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY – December 2, 2020
HONOLULU, Hawaii – Former Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha and his wife, former Honolulu prosecutor Katherine Kealoha, were sentenced in federal court this week to 84 months and 156 months in prison, respectively, for a range of criminal conduct, including framing their relative with a crime to conceal their own fraud. Additionally, the Kealohas’ co-conspirators, former Honolulu police officers Derek Wayne Hahn and Minh-Hung “Bobby” Nguyen, received 42 months and 54 months, respectively, for their involvement in the conspiracy.
Chief U.S. District Judge J. Michael Seabright of the District of Hawaii handed down the sentences, remarking that the conspiracy was “staggering in its breadth, its scope, and its audacity.” He stated further that “the impact on the community is clear: The conduct of the defendants has shaken the community and its trust in the Honolulu Police Department.”
The sentences mark the end of one of the largest public corruption cases in Hawaii history. In June 2019, after six weeks of trial and one day of deliberation, a federal jury in Honolulu convicted the Kealohas, Hahn, and Nguyen of conspiracy and attempted obstruction of justice pertaining to the false arrest and prosecution of Katherine’s uncle, Gerard Puana. The evidence at trial established that the conspirators used their considerable power, including commandeering the Honolulu Police Department’s elite Criminal Intelligence Unit (CIU), to frame Gerard with stealing the Kealohas’ mailbox. Hahn and Nguyen were both members of CIU, which acted directly at the behest of Louis Kealoha. The Kealohas’ motive for framing Gerard was to discredit and intimidate him after he accused Katherine of stealing money from him and his elderly mother—Katherine’s grandmother. The evidence at trial demonstrated that the Kealohas took and spent over $148,000 of the grandmother’s money in just a six-month period, with payments going towards expenses such as mortgage payments, Elton John concert tickets, Mercedes and Maserati car payments, a trip to Disneyland, and a $23,976 brunch tab at the Sheraton Waikiki to celebrate Louis Kealoha’s induction as Honolulu Police Chief in 2009.