Louis Kealoha has signed a plea agreement with federal prosecutors in a criminal case involving bank fraud charges, his attorney said Monday.

The former Honolulu police chief and his wife, former deputy city prosecutor Katherine Kealoha, were accused of defrauding financial  institutions and stealing from the trust funds of children for whom his wife was a guardian.

Katherine Kealoha signed her plea agreement Sunday morning, her attorney said. Louis Kealoha signed his Monday afternoon.

U.S. District Court Judge J. Michael Seabright still needs to approve the agreements. He has scheduled a hearing for Tuesday morning in federal court in Honolulu.

Former HPD Chief Louis Kealoha and Katherine Kealoha holding hands leaving District Court after jury deliberated.

Former HPD Chief Louis Kealoha and Katherine Kealoha have now both signed agreements pleading guilty to felonies.

Cory Lum/Civil Beat

As part of his agreement, Louis Kealoha would plead guilty to one felony count of bank fraud, according to his attorney, Rustam Barbee. In exchange, all other charges will be dismissed.

The Kealohas were convicted in June of conspiracy and obstruction charges by a federal jury for conspiring to frame Gerard Puana, her uncle, for the theft of their mailbox. Sentencing in that case is set for Oct. 31.

The Kealohas were scheduled to go on trial for the bank fraud charges in January. That trial will no longer happen if the judge approves their plea agreements.

Katherine Kealoha’s plea agreement would resolve two pending criminal cases — the one with Louis involving bank fraud and identity theft and a second case on drug trafficking charges.

Katherine Kealoha is expected to plead guilty to three felonies in exchange for reduced prison time, attorneys involved in the case have said.

Katherine Kealoha and her younger brother, Rudolph Puana, were accused of running a prescription drug trafficking ring. That trial is scheduled for May 2020. Her brother is not part of the Kealohas’ plea deals and would still either go to trial or negotiate his own agreement.

A critical time for local journalism . . .

Over 1,800 daily and weekly newspapers in the U.S. have ceased operations since 2004 — among them the Honolulu Star-Bulletin and the Honolulu Weekly. Studies have shown that when local journalism disappears, government financing costs go up, fewer people run for public office, elected officials become less responsive to their constituents, and voter turnout decreases.

 

Our small nonprofit newsroom works hard every day to present local news in a deep and transparent way, without fear or favor.

 

We also rely on donations from readers like you to keep us afloat. The more support we receive; the stronger, more sustainable our journalism becomes; the more accountable we are to you. Please consider supporting our small newsroom with a tax-deductible gift.

About the Author