A Kauai police lieutenant, who was once nominated for Hawaii officer of the year, was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Thursday for alleged embezzlement of government funds and money laundering.
Karen Kapua, 53, is accused of stealing an estimated $75,000 from the Kauai Police Department on three separate occasions between Dec. 23, 2013 and Dec. 5, 2014. She is also accused of trying to wire transfer more than $11,000 to pay off personal debts.
Karen Kapua, right, was arrested for allegedly stealing money from the Kauai Police Department. She has since been fired.
Kauai Police Chief Darryl Perry issued a statement Thursday about Kapua’s arrest saying his department is cooperating with the FBI in its investigation. He said his department performed its own internal review of the matter and fired Kapua on Dec. 6.
“I am hopeful that the public will view this as an isolated incident and not a reflection of the department as a whole,” Perry said. “I stand by the men and women of the Kauai Police Department and their commitment to excellence. I am immensely proud of the work that they do to create a better, safer community.”
FBI Special Agent Tom Simon did not want to comment on the specifics of Kapua’s case. Simon did issue a statement saying that the FBI works closely with the Kauai Police Department, and that his agency considers the charges against Kapua to be “an anomaly.”
Kapua had her first federal court appearance Thursday. She pleaded not guilty to all charges and is out on bond. Her trial date is scheduled for March 15.