The current and former Honolulu police officers who were arrested Sunday in connection with the alleged theft of retired Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha’s mailbox were released on bonds today.
U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Richard Puglisi ruled this afternoon that Officer Minh Hung “Bobby” Nguyen, 43, and retired major Gordon Shiraishi, 61, be released on $50,000 signature bonds.
Nguyen is charged with conspiring with others to alter and falsify records, obstruct an official proceeding and make a false statement, according to a criminal complaint filed against him.
Shiraishi is charged with obstructing an official proceeding, according to his criminal complaint.
The charges appear to stem from testimony and information provided by another retired police officer, Niall Silva, who pleaded guilty last December to a conspiracy charge in a deal with federal prosecutors in exchange for his cooperation.
Both Nguyen and Shiraishi were arrested Sunday morning and held overnight in the Federal Detention Center near the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport. They had their first court appearance this afternoon.
FBI Special Agent in Charge Paul Delacourt said in a statement that corrupt activities, such as what has been alleged, erode the public’s faith in law enforcement.
“The citizens of Hawaii demand and deserve diligent police officers who adhere to the highest standards of conduct,” he said. “Police corruption is among the FBI’s highest priorities and we are committed to investigating and prosecuting to the fullest extent those who violate the civil rights of others.
“Preserving the integrity of the Honolulu Police Department and the public’s trust in law enforcement is of primary concern to the FBI,” he continued. “The FBI values the continued partnership with the Honolulu Police Department and remains committed to working closely with the dedicated men and women of the HPD at every level.”
Shiraishi had 33 years of service with HPD when he retired in March. At the time, he led the Information Technology Division.
Nguyen has 11 years of service. He also is in the Information Technology Division after his powers were restricted last year after being issued a letter from federal officials informing him he is a the target of a criminal investigation.
They were charged in connection with an incident in June 2013 when the Kealohas reported their mailbox had been stolen.
Prosecutors say the report was false, and the subsequent police investigation was a conspiracy to frame and discredit Gerard Puana, Katherine Kealoha’s uncle, according to court documents.
Puana’s former attorney, First Assistant Federal Public Defender Alexander Silvert, has said Kealoha wanted to discredit Puana in a civil lawsuit in which Puana and his mother claimed Kealoha had stolen $150,000 from them in connection with a reverse mortgage that she oversaw.
The theft of the mailbox was investigated by officers in HPD’s Criminal Intelligence Unit. Shiraishi was the commanding officer of the CIU, and Nguyen and Silva were assigned to the unit at the time. Also at the time, Nguyen lived in the back of the Kealohas’ house in Kahala and was married to Katherine Kealoha’s niece, court documents said.
The Kealohas and Nguyen all identified Puana as the suspect in a video of the mailbox theft, a court document said.