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Judge drops case against victim of Katherine Kealoha

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A U.S. judge Monday dismissed a case against a victim of a former Honolulu prosecutor recently sentenced for bank fraud and obstructing justice.

Chief U.S. District Court Judge J. Michael Seabright said it served the interests of justice to dismiss the case against Ransen Taito with prejudice, which means it can’t be brought back to court.

Taito was scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 19 for conspiracy to obstruct justice. However, U.S. prosecutors said in a motion that former Honolulu Deputy Prosecutor Katherine Kealoha directed Taito to lie to a grand jury. The motion said Kealoha told Taito his mother could go to jail if he told the truth about money in trust accounts Kealoha managed.

Kealoha was serving as a court-appointed guardian for assets Taito and his younger sister inherited when they were children. Kealoha opened trust accounts for $83,884 that was due each child but misappropriated the funds for her personal benefit.

In November, Seabright sentenced Kealoha to 13 years in prison after she was found to have stolen money from her own grandmother and then used her police chief husband’s law enforcement power to frame her uncle for a crime he didn’t commit.

A jury convicted Kealoha of conspiracy to obstruct justice. She also pleaded guilty to bank fraud and admitted stealing the Taitos’ trust funds. The court has ordered Kealoha to pay restitution to the Taitos.

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