HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - A former Maui County police officer is expected to plead guilty to a federal criminal charge stemming from an investigation into allegations of inappropriate behavior that were lodged against the officer by four separate women.
Brandon Saffeels, who was fired from the Maui Police Department last November, was charged earlier this year with Honest Services Wire Fraud, a crime that carries up to 20 years in prison.
The investigation into Saffeels’ behavior was initiated after a series of Hawaii News Now reports that included interviews with some of the women involved.
“It gives me a sense of relief to know that he isn’t out on the street doing it. It gives me a sense of relief to know that maybe, possibly, if I have to use MPD in the future, that I won’t ever have him showing up to my house anymore,” said one victim, whose identity Hawaii News Now has agreed to keep confidential.
The woman says she called 911 to report an assault in 2018, and Saffeels was the responding officer. She told investigators that inappropriate text messages followed that meeting, and she subsequently filed a complaint with MPD’s Internal Affairs Division.
She was furious to hear that Saffeels was still allowed on patrol despite her complaint, and she is currently a plaintiff in a civil lawsuit against the Maui Police Department.
Another woman involved in the lawsuit said Saffeels sent her a series of inappropriate pictures of himself after he saw her working on her car.
But the case specifically mentioned in the federal charging document involves a third woman, whom Saffeels arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence last July.
Within hours of her arrest, Saffeels was sending her text messages.
That woman also recorded a phone conversation in which Saffeels implied that he could help her win the case.
“I can completely f*** up that whole trial to the ... to where they will throw it out or find you in favor," Saffeels said. "It’s all based off of my, my testimony. If I choose to stumble on my words, answer (expletive) incorrectly, it’s not going to get me in trouble but it will discredit my statement.”
Federal prosecutors also referred to the portion of the recorded conversation where the woman can be heard asking: “Have you got bad intentions with me?”
At first, Saffeels answers “No.” But he then changes that answer: “Maybe a little bit of bad intentions.”
Representing the women in the civil case is attorney Michael Green.
“I know there are four victims, and my sense is there may be many more. because he was so brazen to put it in a text message to come to his house, and the inference was clear,” Green says
Saffeels' attorney, Victor Bakke, declined to comment on the case.