Federal prosecutors have added three more charges to the criminal conspiracy case against retired Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha and his wife, deputy city prosecutor Katherine Kealoha.
The now 23-count indictment, updated Thursday in federal court, adds additional obstruction and false statements charges.
The new charges regard the bizarre plot in which the Kealohas allegedly looked to five Honolulu police officers — part of a special criminal investigation unit — to help frame Katherine’s uncle for stealing the couple’s mailbox amid a bitter, family legal battle.
The charges now claim that former HPD Maj. Gordon Shiraishi, who was the captain in charge of the unit when the alleged frame job went down, played a greater role in the conspiracy.
The updated indictment further details how authorities believe Katherine Kealoha compelled Ransen Taito and his sister, Ariana, to lie in their testimony to a federal grand jury about the trust account established on their behalf when they were minors.
Kealoha was previously appointed guardian to the Taitos. She’s alleged to have stolen the funds from that trust and created an alias, Alison Lee Wong, to help hide her actions. In Thursday’s indictment, Ransen is mentioned by name. He already pleaded guilty to felony conspiracy in January as part of the corruption investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice into the Kealohas.
At the time, Taito’s lawyer, Michael Green, said that Taito cooperated with Katherine Kealoha because he believed it would protect his mother — who had a drug problem — from future jail time. The updated indictment Thursday also asserts that.
An attorney for Shiraishi, Lars Isaacson, could not be reached for comment Thursday.
Last month, Shiraishi made a motion to be tried separately in the corruption case involving the department’s former chief. He argued that he shouldn’t have been lumped into the indictment against the Kealohas because he was only charged with one count of obstruction for allegedly lying.
Thursday’s updated indictment, however, pulls Shiraishi further into the general alleged conspiracy.
It accuses him of lying to the FBI and a federal grand jury in his testimony when he said the former police chief called him in June 2013 “complaining that his mailbox was gone.” Shiraishi testified that he then directed Derek Hahn, an HPD lieutenant, to check the video surveillance footage, according to the indictment.
The Kealohas were indicted in October on 20 counts of criminal conspiracy, fraud and obstruction of justice, following a two-year investigation into public corruption and abuse of power in Hawaii law enforcement. The defendants in the case have pleaded not guilty.
Read the revised indictment here:
Thoughts on this or any other story? Write a Letter to the Editor. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org and put Letter in the subject line. 200 words max. You need to use your name and city and include a contact phone for verification purposes. And you can still comment on stories onour Facebook page.
Stay Up To Date On The Coronavirus And Other Hawaii Issues