HONOLULU (KHON2) — The federal court found Rudolph Puana, a Big Island doctor and brother of disgraced deputy prosecutor Katherine Kealoha, guilty on all 39 counts charged against him on Wednesday, April 20.

According to prosecutors, Puana illegally gave prescriptions of opioids like oxycodone to people he knew so he could sell them on the black market and buy cocaine. 

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The U.S. Department of Justice said that Puana distributed more than 7,810 oxycodone 30 mg pills to his friends, who would sell them to pay for cocaine and tuition to attend private schools in the State of Hawaii. The reported street value of the oxycodone that was supplied by Puana amounted to more than $117,000.

“The unlawful diversion of prescription drugs is one of the most serious problems plaguing our
communities, and it is fueling the opioid epidemic that is ravaging families across the country.”

Randy S. Grossman, U.S. Attorney

The department stated it was proved that Puana introduced his best friend to Puana’s “trinity” — cocaine, opioids and alcohol.

To conceal his crimes, officials said Puana fabricated handwritten medical records for his closest friends that even included false drug tests.

It was reported that testimonies from Puana’s friends admitted that Puana was not their pain doctor. They said they had never been to Puana’s clinic even though he documented that they were examined there.

Puana’s sentencing will be on Sept. 12 at 1:30 pm. The U.S. courthouse moves to remand his bail, and the Big Island doctor could receive punishment of 10 to 20 years in jail.

“Today’s guilty verdict is a testament that no doctor should use his license to unlawfully distribute
controlled substances and falsify medical records to conceal his crimes,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge
Steven Merrill.

Before the jury trial, Puana pleaded guilty in court to a firearms charge on March 29, while he faced several drug charges.

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The 50-year-old Big Island doctor was convicted of these crimes:

  • Count 1 – Conspiracy to Distribute or Dispense Oxycodone and Fentanyl
    • Maximum Penalty: Twenty years in prison, $250,000 fine.
  • Counts 3-38 – Distributing or Dispensing Oxycodone
    • Maximum Penalty: Twenty years in prison per count, $250,000 fine per count.
  • Count 39 – Distributing or Dispensing Fentanyl
    • Maximum Penalty: Twenty years in prison, $250,000 fine
  • Count 54 – Unlawful Possession of Firearm While Addicted to Controlled Substance
    • Maximum Penalty: Ten years in prison, $250,000 fine