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Monday, December 04, 2017
Ethics Fine: Guard Must Return Cash after $10K Inmate Payoff
By News Release @ 4:48 PM :: 2792 Views :: Hawaii County , Ethics, Labor, Law Enforcement

Adult Corrections Officer's Acceptance of $4,000 from Inmate Under his Supervision

From Hawaii State Ethics Comm, ROC 2017-7, November 16, 2017

Respondent Kimo Kanazawa-Yee ("Respondent Kanazawa-Yee") was employed by the Department of Public Safety ("DPS") as an Adult Corrections Officer ("ACO") at the Hawaii Community Correctional Center ("HCCC") on the island of Hawaii, from approximately December 2007 through January 31, 2010. On Apri115, 2015, the Hawaii State Ethics Commission ("Commission") issued a Charge against Respondent Kanazawa-Yee for alleged violations of the State Ethics Code, Hawaii Revised Statutes ("HRS") chapter 84 ("Charge"). The Charge in redacted form is attached hereto as Exhibit A and made a part hereof.

Respondent Kanazawa-Yee denied the allegations in the Charge as set out in his Response to Charge dated June 15, 2015. The Response to Charge in redacted form is attached hereto as Exhibit B and made a part hereof.

The Commission and Respondent Kanazawa-Yee agreed to resolve the Charge with Respondent Kanazawa-Yee's payment of an administrative penalty of $2,500 to the State of Hawaii; restitution of $4,000 to a former inmate of HCCC ("Inmate"); and the publication of this Resolution of Charge document. The Commission believed that, based on the allegations detailed below, the terms of the resolution were fair and in the public interest.

I. Alleged Facts

The Commission conducted an investigation of Respondent Kanazawa-Yee and issued the Charge against him for allegedly soliciting and/or accepting $4,000 from Inmate. Respondent Kanazawa-Yee cooperated with the Commission's staff by voluntarily participating in an interview on December 4, 2015. The Commission's investigation revealed the following alleged facts ….

B. Misuse of Position to Obtain Power of Attorney from Inmate

In or around November 2009, Respondent Kanazawa-Yee and two other ACOs, ACO A and ACO B, planned to obtain money from Inmate. Respondent Kanazawa-Yee took part in a plan to cause Inmate to execute a Power of Attorney appointing ACO A as Inmate's attorney-in-fact for the purpose of making a one-time withdrawal of $10,000 from Inmate's bank account with the intent that the money be divided and distributed between the three ACOs.

C. Soliciting and/or Accepting and/or Receiving $3,000 from Inmate

On November 18, 2009, Inmate executed a Power of Attorney, which (1) was made effective from November 20, 2009 to December 20, 2009, (2) was witnessed by Respondent Kanazawa-Yee, and (3) gave Inmate's power of attorney to ACO A for the purpose of making a $10,000 withdrawal from Inmate's bank account. On December 14, 2009, Respondent Kanazawa-Yee, ACO A and ACO B drove from Hilo to the bank branch in Kailua-Kona where, using the Power of Attorney, ACO A withdrew $10,000 from Inmate's account. ACO A was issued a cashier's check in his name for this amount. On December 22, 2009, ACO A deposited the $10,000 in his own bank account. Subsequently, on or about January 7, 2010, ACO A gave Respondent Kanazawa-Yee and ACO B cashier's checks, drawn on ACO A's bank account, in the amount of $3,000 each. Respondent Kanazawa-Yee then cashed his check or caused it to be cashed.

D. Non-disclosure of $3,000 Gift from Inmate

Respondent Kanazawa-Yee did not file a gifts disclosure statement with the Commission disclosing the $3,000 that he received.

E. Soliciting and/or Accepting, and/or Receiving $1,000 from Inmate

In or around January 2010, Respondent Kanazawa-Yee provided Inmate with his private post office box address. On or about January 28, 2010, Inmate directed his bank to issue a check for $1,000 to Respondent Kanazawa-Yee and send the check to the post office box address. Respondent Kanazawa-Yee was then part of a DPS reduction in force that took effect on January 31, 2010, and ceased employment with DPS on this date. On or about February 4, 2010, Respondent Kanazawa-Yee received a check for $1,000, drawn from Inmate's funds, and cashed his check or caused it to be cashed.

F. Non-disclosure of $1000 Gift from Inmate Respondent Kanazawa-Yee did not file a gifts disclosure statement with the Commission disclosing the $1,000 that he received….

Resolution of Charge

This Resolution of Charge document is being issued pursuant to the Commission's agreement with Respondent Kanazawa-Yee to resolve the Charge without any further administrative proceedings. The agreement and this Resolution of Charge document do not constitute an admission of wrongdoing by Respondent Kanazawa-Yee or a determination by the Commission of any wrongdoing.

The Commission believes it was reasonable, fair and in the public interest to resolve the Charge by issuing this Resolution of Charge, by Respondent Kanazawa-Yee's payment of an administrative penalty of $2,500 to the State of Hawaii, and by restitution of $4,000 to Inmate.

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