HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It’s not every day that court documents are page turners.
But a 27-page motion filed this week in the sprawling federal investigation against former deputy city Prosecutor Katherine Kealoha and her husband, Honolulu’s former police chief, is just that.
In it, federal prosecutors seek to make crystal clear the alleged motive for framing Katherine Kealoha’s uncle, Gerard Puana, with that mailbox theft all those years ago.
Why would a power couple go to such lengths to pin such a strange federal crime on a relative?
The answer, prosecutors say, is simple: Their “entire house of cards” was in danger of crashing down.
Just before the reported theft of the Kealohas’ mailbox ― a fabricated crime, federal authorities say ― the couple was fighting with Puana and his mother (Katherine Kealoha’s grandmother) over money.
The Puanas say their joint account was drained, allegedly by Kealoha.
The dispute ended up in civil court and there, federal prosecutors allege in the motion, Kealoha portrayed herself as a “pillar of justice” and a “motiveless victim of a so-caricatured deadbeat criminal leech.”
“That picture,” prosecutors continue, “could not be further from the truth.”
In fact, they say, the Kealohas targeted the Puanas because they were the only “two people capable of revealing the truth” ― the scope of their alleged financial crimes.
In addition to the Puanas, two other victims play a prominent role in the document: Siblings ― the Taitos ― whose trusts Katherine Kealoha was charged with managing but instead allegedly raided.
And the Kealohas didn’t stop there, prosecutors say.
“Even while stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Taitos and Puanas, the Kealohas still required supplements to fund their lavish lifestyle,” the motion says. “Between 2004 and 2017, the Kealohas opened and controlled over 30 separate financial accounts with various institutions.”
The document continues: “Bad credit followed. Thus, in order to continue securing loans, the Kealohas turned to fraud. Between 2008 and 2016, they engaged in many fraudulent acts to convince lenders to approve various financial applications," from allegedly falsely pledging as collateral the Taitos’ accounts to submitting forged documents.
The motion digs into the Kealohas’ dire financial situation ― and alleged financial crimes ― to answer this question: “Why would two public servants — a chief of police and a supervisory deputy prosecuting attorney — risk it all by fabricating a criminal case against a poor uncle?”
According to prosecutors, the Kealoha’s targeted Gerard Puana because “their reputations, careers, and livelihood were seriously threatened by what the Puanas’ (civil) lawsuit could bring to light."
“So they moved to silence and imprison him.”
Interested in reading more? It’s all here: