HONOLULU (KHON2) — Two former HPD officers convicted of their involvement in the Kealoha scandal will serve prison time for their role in the conspiracy. A federal judge sentenced Derek Hahn to three-and-a-half years in prison while Bobby Nguyen will serve four-and-a-half years.
Get news on the go with KHON 2GO, KHON’s morning podcast, every morning at 8
The judge said the two officers may not have masterminded the conspiracy, but they played a major role in executing and covering it up.
Federal Judge J. Michael Seabright pointed out that the two HPD officers did not benefit financially in the conspiracy, which is why they received lighter sentences than the Kealohas.
But, they repeatedly lied to cover it up.
Seabright saw Nguyen as someone who played a bigger role in the conspiracy and gave him one more year than Hahn. Nguyen’s attorney argued that he was a footman and was just following orders.
“The role and rank is so important in this case, not in a position to defy orders,” he said.
But Seabright pointed out that Nguyen was the one who initially identified the person in the surveillance video supposedly stealing the Kealohas’ mailbox as Gerard Puana. And that he lied to the FBI and to the grand jury twice.
“It was just pure arrogance on his par. It’s clear to me that he was all in, more than willing to aid in this corrupt endeavor,” the judge said in determining Nguyen’s sentence.
Hahn served 23 years in the Honolulu Police Department and was a lieutenant in the Criminal Intelligence Unit. Prosecutors pointed out that he commanded other officers to frame Puana.
“The defendant went to great lengths to execute and cover up the conspiracy,” Seabright said in determining Hahn’s sentence.
The Kealohas wanted to discredit Gerard Puana because he discovered that they had stolen hundreds of thousands of dollars from his mother, Florence, who was also Katherine’s grandmother.
On Monday, the judge sentenced Katherine to 13 years and gave Louis seven years. Florence’s daughter, Charlee Puana Malott, says the family finds some comfort now that a sentencing has been delivered.
“I think the fact that people can begin to look at what they’ve done and really begin to change is what’s more important,” said Puana Malott.
“That promise, evidently, did not mean anything to you.” she said in her testimony against former Officers Nguyen and Hahn. “Our one regret is that our matriarch, Florence, did not live to see this day.”
Hahn’s attorney says he plans to appeal the verdict.
“This was not a slam dunk case and there’s no reason for us to lay down at this point and stop fighting,” said attorney Victor Bakke.
Latest Stories on KHON2
- Ford owners, check to see if your vehicle is included in multi-state recall
- ‘Quadrillion-dollar’ tax case leaves Supreme Court justices exploring narrow resolution
- House Republican moves to force vote on Bowman censure after fire alarm incident
- Texas high school again suspends Black student over his hairstyle
- GOP antisemitism resolution passes House, fractures Democrats