Taito pleads guilty in Kealoha corruption scandal
Another guilty plea in the corruption case against former Honolulu police chief Louis Kealoha and his wife Katherine.
HONOLULU - Another guilty plea in the corruption case against former Honolulu police chief Louis Kealoha and his wife Katherine.
Ransen Taito, 26, pleaded guilty on Friday on federal charges of conspiracy to obstruct justice. He walked into federal court admitting he lied to a grand jury and falsified documents about trust fund money he never actually received.
His says his guardian, the woman he called aunty, told him to lie. That aunty is Deputy Prosecutor Katherine Kealoha.
"She had the kids come down and sign phony documents saying they had received all of their money," said defense attorney Michael Green.
Kealoha had been managing a $163,000 trust for Taito and his younger sister since being appointed by a court in 2004. But instead, prosecutors say Kealoha stole their money and used it as her own.
"They can trace checks from this trust account, right into Kealoha's checking account. In some instances, to pay their mortgage. In some instances, just to buy things for herself. It looks like the chief of police, when he became chief, they paid for it... and they weren't even invited," said Green.
Kealoha allegedly used Taito's mother as leverage saying if he didn't claim he got the trust money, his mother would go to jail.
"How could they not believe that a prosecutor is lying when they say you're mother may very well go back to jail? Their mother had been in jail for a short time before because of narcotics," said Green.
In court, Taito got emotional telling the judge he quote, "Signed anything Kealoha put in front of him" and said he assumed it was for the greater good of his family.
"She professed that she really cared about them. She cared about their mother, cared about the kids. She was always Aunty Kathy," said Green.
As part of Taito's guilty plea, he'll cooperate with prosecutors in their growing case against the Kealohas.
"He wants to tell the truth. His sister wants to tell the truth and they're going to," said Green.
Taito is scheduled be sentenced this summer. He could face up to five years in prison.