Ex-police sergeant gets probation in Maui bribery scheme
HONOLULU (AP) — A former Maui police sergeant convicted in a scheme to bribe a man to withdraw a complaint to the police department has been sentenced to three years of probation.
Walter Ahuna, 36, was also ordered to pay a $2,000 fine following his sentencing Monday in federal court in Honolulu. Ahuna pleaded guilty to witness tampering in June 2017.
Ahuna was the last of four men to be sentenced in the case that stemmed from former Officer Anthony Maldonado’s theft of about $1,800 during a traffic stop in Lahaina in September 2015.
The victim who was stopped by Maldonado reported the theft to police the next day. Maldonado was arrested and placed on leave, but he hatched a plan to get the complaint withdrawn.
Ahuna, Damien Kaina and former Maui Officer Chase Keliipaakaua were implicated in the plan. Maldonado offered the victim about $2,000 through Kaina in exchange for the victim to withdraw his complaint, according to court documents. The man accepted $1,800 and later reported the bribe to police.
Ahuna opposed the plan, and he regrets not immediately informing the police department, his attorney Myles Breiner told The Maui News.
“We’re very happy that he received no jail, no confinement and that the court took into consideration his 15 years with the Maui Police Department — that he had never been sanctioned or committed any misconduct as a police officer for 15 years,” Breiner said. “It was unfortunate. He was just trying to help a cousin by trying to tell him not to be involved in this.”
Maldonado was sentenced to two years in prison, and Keliipaakaua was sentenced to four months in prison. Kaina was sentenced to two months in jail.