Ex-FBI official accused of stealing from Hawaii LGBT group
HONOLULU (AP) — The nonprofit Hawaii LGBT Legacy Foundation has accused a former high-ranking FBI official of stealing more than $33,000 while he was the organization’s treasurer.
The nonprofit told police that between November 2016 and August 2017, 56-year-old Robert Kauffman wrote improper checks and made several unauthorized withdrawals from the foundation’s bank account, Hawaii News Now reported .
“Several of these checks and bank account withdrawals were in excess of $3,000, which requires the approval of two board members,” attorney and foundation director David Brustein said. “Robert did not have signatures or board approval.”
Kauffman is a former assistant special agent-in-charge of the FBI’s Honolulu field office. He is currently chief investigator for the state Judiciary’s Office of Disciplinary Counsel, which oversees attorney conduct.
Kaufmann’s attorney, Myles Breiner, said his client is “innocent of any embezzlement” and was safeguarding the money from being misspent.
He said Kauffman returned the money with a cashier’s check even before the foundation went to the police. Kauffman plans to fight the allegations.
Honolulu police are investigating and have turned over the case to its white-collar division.
The Hawaii LGBT Legacy Foundation is a tax-exempt organization that supports causes for the gay, lesbian and transgendered people and is a big organizer of the Honolulu Pride festival.
The $33,000 is nearly half of the foundation’s annual revenues.
“It is more damaging, not only to the organization but the people who the organization was set up to assist,” said Hawaii Pacific University assistant professor Randal Lee, a retired Circuit judge.
Information from: KGMB-TV, http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/