U.S. District Court Judge J. Michael Seabright granted federal prosecutors’ request Monday to dismiss a conspiracy charge against Ransen Taito, one of Katherine Kealoha’s victims who pleaded guilty in 2018 of lying to a grand jury on her behalf.
In a motion filed Monday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Wheat wrote that Taito was merely a “pawn” in Kealoha’s extensive criminal enterprise, which included bilking Taito and his sister out of more than $160,000 when they were minors.
Hours later Seabright agreed with Wheat’s motion, saying in a one-page written order that Wheat’s request “serves the interests of justice to dismiss this matter with prejudice.”
“Kealoha used her power, position, and influence to convince Mr. Taito to lie to the grand jury to protect his mother,” Wheat said in his motion.
“While the dilemma Kealoha placed him in does not excuse his conscious decision to lie to the grand jury, when considering the totality of the current circumstances — including Kealoha’s recent convictions and outstanding order of restitution to Mr. Taito — the United States does not believe that a substantial federal interest presently exists in penalizing Mr. Taito with a felony conviction.”
Kealoha, a former deputy prosecutor for the City and County of Honolulu, was indicted in October 2017 along with her husband, retired police chief Louis Kealoha, and several other officers for framing a family member for the theft of her mailbox.
The indictment included a litany of other charges, including bank fraud and identity theft. Katherine Kealoha, in particular, was accused of stealing from the Taito siblings when they were children.
According to court records, Kealoha was appointed as the Taitos’ guardian in 2004 after their father died. At the time Taito and his sister were 12 and 10 years old.
Kealoha was supposed to create two separate trust accounts for the Taito children so that they could split more than $160,000 he had left for them after he settled a previous medical malpractice claim.
She instead stole the money and used it for herself.
When the FBI began asking questions, Kealoha convinced Taito to lie on her behalf. She told him that if he didn’t his mother, who had been involved with drugs, could go to jail.