San Diego’s U.S. Attorney’s Office played a major role in a high-profile corruption case in Hawaii, leading to the convictions of a Honolulu power couple.

The Southern District of California took over the case against Katherine Kealoha and Louis Kealoha after federal prosecutors in Hawaii recused themselves, according to The Washington Post.

Katherine Kealoha worked as a top local prosecutor, while her husband served as chief of the Honolulu Police Department.

The duo, who have since separated, according to the report, faced conspiracy and bank fraud charges, among other counts.

A federal judge sentenced them this week. Katherine Kealoha faces 13 years behind bars, while Louis Kealoha received a seven-year sentence.

One of their schemes centered on framing Katherine Kealoha’s uncle for the theft of a mailbox after he accused his niece of defrauding her elderly grandmother. Louis Kealoha roped in personnel from his department’s elite Criminal Intelligence Unit to make the case against the family member, Gerard Puana.

The motive, authorities said, was to discredit him and preserve their lavish lifestyle.

Their spending included more than $148,000 on their own mortgage and payments on a Mercedes and Maserati, concert tickets to see Elton John, a trip to Disneyland, and a $23,976 brunch at a Waikiki hotel.

They hosted the party at the hotel to celebrate Louis Kealoha’s rise as Honolulu’s police chief. They also burned through the ill-gotten cash in just seven months.

San Diego’s U.S. Attorney, Robert Brewer, called their crimes “a flagrant and stunning abuse of power.”

Meanwhile, Florence Puana, one of the couple’s victims, lost her home. Katherine Kealoha, prosecutors said, took the proceeds from a reverse mortgage on her grandmother’s house, yet made no payments on the note.

Hawaii’s Chief U.S. District Judge J. Michael Seabright also ordered the Kealohas to pay nearly $700,000 in restitution. They must forfeit property obtained with their fraudulent proceeds, including a Honolulu home, a Rolex watch and $228,747.

In addition, Seabright also sentenced the two Honolulu police officers who helped the Kealohas frame Gerard Puana. Brewer credited Puana’s public defender, Alexander Silvert, for his “dogged investigation” to help crack the case.

– Staff reports

Note: Photo credit – Louis Kealoha,

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