March 7, 2013 — Gerard and Florence Puana file a lawsuit in Hawaii’s First Circuit Court against Katherine Kealoha, a deputy city prosecutor and wife of Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha, alleging she bilked them out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. The lawsuit claims that the Kealohas spent the money on lavish gifts, including a $25,000 brunch after Louis Kealoha was named police chief in 2009.
June 22, 2013 — Katherine Kealoha tells the Honolulu Police Department that her home mailbox has been stolen. Grainy surveillance video shows a man — later falsely identified by Kealoha as her uncle, Gerard Puana — drive up to the mailbox around 11:30 p.m., pluck it off the pedestal and throw it in a vehicle. Police arrest Puana the following week.
Feb. 5, 2014 — The Honolulu Police Commission unanimously approves a second five-year term for HPD Chief Louis Kealoha.
December 2014 — Gerard Puana’s federal criminal trial for destruction of a mailbox ends in a mistrial, after Louis Kealoha inappropriately reveals on the witness stand that Puana had been arrested in 2011 for unlawfully entering a home. The U.S. Attorney’s Office dismisses the criminal charges against Puana, and the FBI begins investigating allegations that Puana was framed.
May 1, 2015 — The Honolulu Ethics Commission launches an investigation into Louis and Katherine Kealoha, regarding their alleged involvement in the arrest and prosecution of Gerard Puana for the theft of their mailbox.
October 2015 — A sign that the federal investigation is ramping up emerges with the appointment of a special prosecutor, San Diego-based Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Wheat, to investigate alleged public corruption and abuse of power in Hawaii.
Dec. 16, 2016 — Retired Honolulu police officer Niall Silva pleads guilty to taking part in the conspiracy to frame Gerard Puana. Silva admitted, among other things, to lying to federal investigators and on the witness stand during Puana’s criminal trial.
Dec. 20, 2016 — Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha is placed on leave one day after receiving a letter from the U.S. Justice Department notifying him that he is a target of a criminal investigation. Deputy Chief Cary Okimoto is named as acting chief while the investigation plays out. Concerns were raised, however, about what Okimoto knew about the alleged wrongdoing.
Jan. 18, 2017 — The Honolulu Police Commission votes 5 to 1 to approve a $250,000 severance package for Louis Kealoha. In addition to the lump sum payment he will keep his pension, which is estimated at $150,000 a year along with benefits. The deal was crafted in secret and negotiated by Police Commission Chairman Max Sword and the city’s top attorney, Corporation Counsel Donna Leong.
April 24, 2017 — Katherine Kealoha goes on unpaid leave from the Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
Oct. 20, 2017 — Louis and Katherine Kealoha are arrested and charged in a 20-count federal indictment that accuses them and four other police officers of conspiring to frame Gerard Puana for the theft of their mailbox. The Kealohas are additionally charged with a series of financial crimes, including bank fraud and identity theft.
Oct. 25, 2017 — Susan Ballard is named Honolulu’s next police chief. Ballard, a major who oversaw HPD’s central receiving division, was seen by the Honolulu Police Commission as a good choice to reinvigorate a demoralized department.
Sept. 17, 2018 — The Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney’s Office confirms that Katherine Kealoha has resigned her post as deputy prosecutor. Kealoha had been on involuntary unpaid leave since she was indicted in October 2017.
December 2018 — Reports surface that Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Keith Kaneshiro has received a target letter from the U.S. Justice Department indicating he’s suspected of criminal activity.
Jan. 11, 2019 — Honolulu police Sgt. Daniel Sellers, who was indicted in October 2017, pleads guilty to a single misdemeanor in exchange for his cooperation in the U.S. Justice Department’s ongoing investigation.
Feb. 12, 2019 — Katherine Kealoha and her younger brother, Rudolph Puana, are indicted on dozens of drug charges for running a prescription trafficking ring.
Puana is a double-board certified anesthesiologist who owned and operated pain clinics in Hawaii. The charging documents say Kealoha used her position as a city prosecutor to help cover up for his illegal activity by steering criminal investigations away from their drug enterprise.
Hawaii Attorney General Clare Connors asks the state supreme court to suspend Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Keith Kaneshiro’s law license while he’s under criminal investigation
March 7, 2019 — Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Keith Kaneshiro announces he will go on paid leave while he’s the target of a criminal investigation. The decision came as the deadline neared for him to respond to the Hawaii Attorney General’s request to suspend his law license.
May 13, 2019 — Jury selection begins in the first criminal trial involving the mailbox conspiracy. In addition to Louis and Katherine Kealoha, Honolulu police officers Derek Hahn, Minh-Hung “Bobby” Nguyen and Gordon Shiraishi also face federal criminal charges. Because of the high-profile nature of the case more than 400 people are called to Neal S. Blaisdell Center as potential jurors. Sixteen will ultimately be selected to hear the case.
June 27, 2019 — The Kealohas, Hahn and Nguyen are convicted of conspiracy and obstruction of justice. Shiraishi, who has retired from HPD, is found not guilty on all counts. Katherine Kealoha is taken into custody the next day and detained at the Federal Detention Center but the other defendants are free pending sentencing, which is scheduled for October.
July 11, 2019 — Katherine Kealoha’s publicly funded defense lawyer, Cynthia Kagiwada, quits as her attorney citing ethical concerns, among other things. Kealoha’s privately funded lawyer, Earle Partington, files for a new trial.