HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Four Honolulu Police officers are being investigated for suspected theft and other crimes linked to an overtime probe, Hawaii News Now has learned.
The department alleges that the officers got paid for overtime hours that they did not work.
All are assigned to Pearl City. Two are plainclothes officers so HNN is not using their names. The third is Sgt. Ashley Stibbard while the fourth, and highest-ranking member, is Lt. Lance Yashiro.
All were reportedly caught leaving early while claiming overtime working the COVID-19 Enforcement Team, which was shut down last month after a review by HPD discovered rampant overtime abuse.
So far, the four are the only ones being accused of crimes.
“It is theft,” said attorney Michael Green, who once represented the police union. “It’s theft and I’d be curious to see the paperwork they filed to cover it.”
Green said another crime HPD could be looking into is falsifying government documents ― if the officers lied about their hours on the time cards.
“If they’re getting paid for work they never performed and they have to write it down, they have to submit it,” Green said.
HPD Chief Susan Ballard said problems only happened one time during one shift, but sources tell Hawaii News Now the investigation will review other time cards and shifts the group worked.
The COVID-19 Enforcement Team was a voluntary overtime assignment to enforce emergency orders.
“Any theft of time from the department, which is theft from the city and the community because it’s our tax dollars, is very serious,” said Tommy Aiu, a former federal agent.
Aiu said it’s unlikely the investigation will move to the federal level even though CET was funded using federal CARES Act funds.
If HPD finds enough evidence to pursue criminal charges investigators will meet with the Honolulu Prosecutor’s Office.
In the meantime, the four officers will have to turn in their guns and badges and will be on desk duty while the investigation continues.