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Letter from deceased victim says Kealoha’s ‘ruthless scheme’ was a final blow

Updated: Nov. 30, 2020 at 5:42 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Before she died in February at the age of 100, Florence Puana wrote a stinging letter describing the financial and emotional toll Katherine Kealoha’s crimes had on her family.

“I felt completely disillusioned, disappointed and demoralized ― the final blow was your’s and Louis’ dreadful, ruthless scheme. You framed my son Gerry,” Puana said, in a letter read by her daughter Charlotte Malott in court on Monday.

Gerry is Gerard Puana, who spent six months in jail on charges trumped up by Kealoha and her estranged husband, former Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha.

Puana said he still can’t accept the apologies issued by the Kealohas in court Monday before their sentencing. Katherine Kealoha will serve 13 years in prison, while Louis Kealoha will serve seven.

“I’ve just been through too much. Mom just passed away in February. She’s never gotten that apology. To me it doesn’t do anything for me,” Puana said.

Ransen Taito and his sister were 12 and 10 when Katherine Kealoha was appointed to oversee their trust accounts in 2004. Over a decade, Kealoha stole nearly $167,000 from the siblings.

“I feel humiliated it happened to us,” he said.

Back in 2016, Kealoha convinced Taito to lie to a federal grand jury. She told him his mother could lose her job or go to jail if he didn’t.

“She is evil personified and I hate to say that about anyone. From top to bottom, she’s evil,” said Taito’s attorney, Michael Green.

“Everyone she touched was poisoned.”

The Taitos could get back some of the money from the Kealohas under a restitution plan ordered by the court. The Puanas, however, are targeting deeper pockets.

A civil lawsuit, which also named the city, for the violation of the Puanas’ civil rights has been delayed until the end of the criminal trial. It will move forward again next week.

“If I were the mayor and City Council and the corporation counsel, I would order a transcript about what the judge had to say about the conspiracy to violate Florence and Gerard Puana’s civil rights and the lengths to which so many people in the police department were corrupted and willingly participated,” said the Puana’s attorney, Eric Seitz.

“The city is on the hook for the restitution.”

The city declined comment.

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