Details about the federal indictments brought against former business manager and IBEW Local 1260 union boss Brian Ahakuelo were announced in a press conference Friday morning. US Attorney for Hawaii Kenji Price, Hawaii Attorney General Clare Connors, and the special agent in charge of the IRS criminal division in Honolulu Justin Campbell spoke at the presser.
A total of 70 indictments were brought against Ahakuelo, his wife Marilyn Ahakuelo, and his sister-in-law Jennifer Estencion. Charges include conspiracy, money laundering, wire fraud and embezzlement.
According to the federal indictment, Ahakuelo used his authority as the financial secretary of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) union to “fill vacancies on the executive board with folks who had no experience” but were loyal to him, Price said. “By doing this he gained complete control over 1260’s finances and abused that power to benefit himself and his family members.” All three were given jobs, salary increases, and official credit cards. Estencion was in charge of approving purchases on the credit cards, which were regularly used for personal traveling and dining expenses.
From 2010 to 2014, Ahakuelo allegedly tanked the union’s $700,000 budget surplus, turning it into a $700,000 deficit. Ahakuelo introduced a resolution to raise union dues to cover the deficit, and “when he didn’t have the votes to get the resolution passed, he rigged a union vote to change the result,” Price said.
“It’s important to note that these charges are merely accusations, and each of the individuals I mentioned are innocent until proven guilty in the court of law,” Price said.