Feds: Kealoha Stole $167K from Orphans
UPDATE: OHA Trustees Reject CNHA Grab for Charter School Funds
Kaneshiro Kept Kealoha on as Prosecutor—Now Her Cases Will be Challenged--100s of Repeat Felons May Walk Free
SA: The federal indictment of Deputy Prosecutor Katherine Kealoha on charges ranging from bank fraud to obstruction of justice raises enough red flags that prosecutors should review all the cases she’s worked on the past several years to ensure they were handled properly, according to criminal defense attorneys….
Even Colin M. McDonald, one of the prosecutors working on the federal case, raised questions about Kealoha’s conduct in arguing to U.S. Magistrate Judge Richard L. Puglisi on Friday that she remain in custody.
“Mrs. Kealoha has a personal track record of obstructing justice,” McDonald, a special attorney to the U.S. attorney general, told the judge….
Several criminal defense attorneys told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro, who has been a staunch defender of Kealoha in the midst of the federal probe, should review all the cases she has handled to make sure they aren’t tainted….
Bakke said hundreds of cases potentially could be affected. “It’s a big monkey wrench,” he said. “It’s massive.”
Alexander Silvert, first deputy federal defender, told reporters that if he were in state court and had a case that Kealoha handled, he would seek a dismissal.
“I think she has jeopardized a lot of cases that are pending in state court by her actions and her inability and her unwillingness to step aside,” Silvert said….
Some of the alleged misconduct by Katherine Kealoha happened when she was not with the prosecutor’s office. But most of it allegedly occurred while she was a deputy prosecutor, including as head of the seven-attorney career criminal unit.
The unit, which she headed since at least 2011, focuses on repeat offenders in felony cases….
While the charges she faces stem from conduct unrelated to her prosecutor job, federal investigators are looking at the prosecutor’s office as well.
In January, they raided the office, searching computer servers and seizing laptops.
The grand jury investigation also has delved into a land purchase involving the office’s Makiki safe house for female victims of domestic violence and sex trafficking.
And McDonald, the federal prosecutor, told the court Friday that Kealoha used her position as a deputy prosecutor to make false representations in state court to get a case involving excessive speeding dismissed.
He also cited another case in which Kealoha and two police officers entered and searched a relative’s home after the relative was arrested.
“This establishes her willingness to use her power to gain an advantage,” McDonald told Puglisi….
Kaneshiro, through a spokesman, declined comment.
read … Federal case likely to raise doubts over work as prosecutor
AG Chin: Trump OK to Ban Venezuela, N Korea--I’m Just Here to Help Get More Muslims into USA
AP: …U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson on Friday converted the temporary restraining order to a preliminary injunction….
Rulings against the ban in Hawaii and later in Maryland only apply only to the six Muslim-majority countries.
They do not affect the restrictions against North Korea or Venezuela, because the plaintiffs did not ask for that. (LOL!)
Watson said the proposed ban failed to show nationality alone makes a person a greater security risk to the U.S.
The U.S. government is expected to appeal….
read … No Surprise Here
Trump Reforms Obamacare but Prepaid Will Save HMSA/Kaiser Duopoly from Most Competition
PBN: President Donald Trump’s executive order allowing for alternative health care plans won’t have much of an impact on businesses in Hawaii, according to a local industry expert.
The Trump administration said the order, which was issued last week, is designed to increase competition and choice.
“Taking a look at this executive order and considering our state’s Prepaid Health Care Act, it would have little impact,” said Bonnie Pang, senior vice president and manager of Atlas Insurance Agency’s Atlas Benefit Consulting. “Because one of the things that it does is it suggests limited plans and short-term plans.”
Pang told Pacific Business News these interim types of coverage do not meet the requirements of the state’s current 43-year-old health care law…..
Another element of Trump’s order allows for the formation of association health plans.
“The association health plan would typically be a plan that would be made available to companies in similar industries,” Pang said, adding advocacy group Small Business Hawaii used to offer an association plan to its members….
Related: How HMSA Used Health Care Advisory Council to Establish Medical Monopoly
read … Trump’s executive order on health care to have little impact in Hawaii
How did Hawaii's hepatitis A outbreak compare to San Diego's?
SDU:… The Aloha State was able to end the viral onslaught in six months, a signifcantly shorter span than has already passed in San Diego and Southeast Michigan where hepatitis A has sickened more than 800 people. The island outbreak killed two people compared with 15 in Michigan and 19 in San Diego so far….
The source is the biggest single difference between Hawaii’s outbreak and those underway among its continental counterparts. Investigators with the Hawaii State Department of Health traced a spike in cases to tainted shipments of frozen scallops served at a chain of popular sushi restaurants, which closed for nearly a month for sanitizing.
No such food source has been identified in San Diego or Michigan. Both of those outbreaks have been caused, investigators hypothesize, by unsanitary living conditions among homeless residents and illicit drug users.
Affected residents in Michigan are more directly similar to those in San Diego, but they’re far from identical. According to the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency, 49 percent of those infected as of early October in San Diego County were homeless while only 12 percent of those infected in Michigan are homeless. About 64 percent of Michigan’s cases have been among drug users compared with 46 percent in San Diego.
read … San Diego Union Tribune
Battery Schemes: PUC expands opportunities for Money Transfer to Elon Musk
KITV: The Hawai‘i Public Utilities Commission announced on Friday that it has approved two new programs that will expand opportunities for customers to install rooftop solar and battery energy storage systems, while clarifying terms of existing programs for customers who have already invested in a rooftop photovoltaic (PV) system.
The HPUC approved a new Smart Export program, which offers a new option for customers installing a rooftop PV system combined with a battery energy storage system. Under the program, a customer’s energy storage system will recharge during the daytime with energy captured from their PV system. The system will then power their home in the evening with an option to also export electricity back to the grid.
If the customer sends power back to the grid during non-daytime hours, they receive a monetary credit on their electricity bill.
Under the initial terms, the Smart Export program may accommodate approximately 3,500 – 4,500 customers on the islands of Oahu, Maui, Molokai, Lanai, and Hawaii. Credit rates for electricity sent to the grid during non-daytime hours are 14.97 cents on Oahu, 11.00 cents on Hawaii Island, 14.41 cents on Maui, 16.64 cents on Molokai, and 20.79 cents on Lanai.
The HPUC also established a Controllable CGS -- or CGS+ -- as a successor to the popular Customer Grid Supply program…..
read … PUC expands opportunities for customers to install solar, battery energy storage systems
Embezzlement cases show limits of trust
SA: …Patrick Oki, former managing partner of PKF Pacific Hawaii LLP, sent to prison Tuesday for up to 20 years for stealing over $400,000 from his prominent accounting firm and former partners. Over a three-year period, Oki supported a lavish lifestyle via theft, money laundering, forgery and use of a computer in the commission of the crimes.
And earlier this year, Sophina Placencia was sentenced to a year in jail plus probation for stealing $554,541 from Waianae Community Outreach, a nonprofit founded by her mother for which Placencia had been executive director.
These cases reveal greed, and misplaced trust, gone awry. Most companies, of course, can rightly trust their people and will operate successfully without incident. But for their own sakes, companies, agencies and nonprofits should review their processes to guard against in-house crimes. Best practices, for instance, call for regular audits, segregation of duties when it comes to accounts payable and accounts receivable, and setting up dual approvals for transactions.
There’s a difference between trust and blind trust — and that difference could amount to millions of pilfered dollars…..
Related: ‘Con-Artist’ OHA and HART Auditor Gets 20 Year Prison Sentence
read .,.. Embezzlement cases show limits of trust
SHOPO Chief: Kealoha case is "unfortunate" and "heartbreaking"
HNN: …Ma'afala (a big Kealoha supporter) says what happened with Chief Kealoha, his wife and the other officers is unfortunate and heartbreaking.
Despite all the accusations and alleged wrongdoing, Ma'afala says he believes there is no morale issue in the department.
He backed up his statement by saying HPD's front line officers remain resilient and continue to show up for work, putting their best foot forward.
He doesn't think the indictment should overshadow the entire police force.
"What's happening now with those who have been indicted is not indicative or a reflection of the department as a whole... I've always said that there's no one man or woman that's greater than what the department represents," Ma'afala said….
read … Police officers union chief