UPDATE: 3:25 p.m.
The fourth and final co-conspirator in the Kealoha corruption case was sentenced to four-and-a-half years years in federal prison today, adding a coda to one of Hawaii’s most notorious cases of law enforcement abuse of power.
The sentence for Honolulu Police Department Officer “Bobby” Minh-Hung Nguyen was a year longer than the sentence of three-and-a-half years that Chief U.S. District Court Judge imposed earlier in the day for former HPD Lt. Derek Wayne Hahn.
Both served in HPD’s once-elite Criminal Intelligence Unit that reported directly to then-Chief Louis Kealoha.
Nguyen held the rank of HPD “footman,” officers who typically work a beat in a blue-and-white patrol car. But Nguyen, who was the only footman in CIU, was previously married to Katherine Kealoha’s niece and lived in the Kealohas’ pool house.
Deputy U.S. Attorney Michael Wheat said that Nguyen played an out-sized role in the CIU “secret police” unit where officers often managed their own time and assignments.
“He’s there because he has a special relationship,” Wheat said. “He’s family”
During Hahn’s earlier sentence, Seabright repeatedly said that Hahn was the only defendant in the case who did not perjure himself during various procedures to cover up for the Kealohas’ crimes.
Later, during Nguyen’s sentencing, Seabright said more than once that Nguyen repeatedly lied at various proceedings, including to the Honolulu Ethics Commission and twice before the grand jury.
He called Nguyen’s attitude in the case ”arrogant.”
UPDATE: 11:50 a.m.
Former Honolulu Police Department Lt. Derek Wayne Hahn, one of two HPD co-conspirators convicted of conspiracy along with ex-Police Chief Louis Kealoha and former Deputy Prosecutor Katherine Kealoha, was sentenced this morning to three years and six months in federal prison, followed by two years of supervised release and $400 in restitution for his involvement in the Kealoha corruption case.
Chief U.S. District Court Judge J. Michael Seabright repeatedly said that Hahn was the only defendant in the case who did not perjure himself during various procedures to cover up for the Kealohas’ crimes.
Unlike the Kealohas, Seabright said Hahn’s motives were not greed.
If the Kealohas ran the operation, Seabright said, then Hahn “was an arm, a soldier in implementing Louis’ request.”
“You are less culpable than Louis was and the sentence needs to reflect that,” Seabright said. Hahn’s prison sentence is half of the seven-year sentence Seabright gave to Hahn’s ex-boss on Monday.
But, like other HPD officers — especially a supervising lieutenant — Hahn did nothing to stop the attempt to frame Katherine Kealoha’s innocent uncle by accusing him of stealing the Kealohas’ mail box to cover up thefts aimed at supporting a lavish lifestyle they could not otherwise afford.
Seabright then formed a “T” with his hands and said about Hahn: “It’s also clear he didn’t say, ‘Time out Chief, we can’t do this. It’s not who we are. It doesn’t represent our values.’ That apparently never happened.”
HPD officer “Bobby” Minh-Hung Nguyen is scheduled to be sentenced by Seabright later today, representing the last of the four convicted felons in the corruption case to receive their punishments.
Hahn remains free on bail but must surrender to the Federal Bureau of Prisons by 2 p.m. April 12, the same deadline that Seabright gave Louis Kealoha to surrender to begin serving his sentence.
Hahn is the married father of two children, ages 12 and 10.
His attorney, Victor Bakke, told Seabright that Hahn would like to serve his sentence at Oregon’s FCI Sheridan. The Bureau of Prisons describes Sheridan as “a medium security federal correctional institution with an adjacent minimum security satellite camp and a detention center.”
Hahn appeared in court today wearing a navy blue suit, tie, face mask and face shield. He wore several pins on his suit lapel, including an American flag, Hawaiian flag and what appeared to be an HPD emblem.
On Monday, Seabright separately sentenced Louis Kealoha, age 60, to seven years in federal prison. Seabright earlier Monday sentenced Katherine Kealoha, age 50, to 13 years. They are in the process of divorcing and have a daughter.
Katherine Kealoha has been incarcerated at the Federal Detention Center near Daniel K. Inouye International Airport.
Seabright at both of Monday’s sentencing hearings repeatedly referred to Katherine Kealoha as the mastermind of an elaborate but ultimately botched scheme to steal proceeds from a reverse mortgage on her grandmother’s house and then frame her uncle, Gerard Puana, to discredit him and attempt to cover up the reverse mortgage scam
A federal jury convicted the Kealohas, Hahn and Nguyen during a joint trial in June 2019. The jury acquitted a fifth defendant, now-retired HPD Maj. Gordon Shiraishi.
The two former Honolulu police officers will be sentenced today for conspiracy and obstruction of justice in the framing of former city deputy prosecutor Katherine Kealoha’s uncle.
Kealoha was sentenced Monday to 13 years in prison for masterminding the plot against her uncle, Gerard Puana, and other crimes, including bank fraud and obstruction. Her husband, former Honolulu police chief Louis Kealoha was sentenced to seven years on Monday for his part in the couple’s crimes.
HPD Lt. Derek Wayne Hahn and officer “Bobby” Minh-Hung Nguyen were both convicted, along with the Kealohas, in June 2019, of conspiracy and three counts of obstruction.
The officers were part of HPD’s elite Criminal Intelligence Unit officers and reported directly to then-Chief Kealoha. They participated in a plan to frame Puana with the purported theft of the mailbox outside the Kealohas’ Kahala home.
Hahn investigated the supposed theft, and Nguyen, who was married to Katherine Kealoha’s niece and lived on the Kealohas’ property, also participated in the framing of Puana and subsequent cover-up.
The two will be sentenced before Chief U.S. District Court Judge J. Michael Seabright in Honolulu today in separate hearings. Seabright also sentenced the Kealohas on Monday.