A Hawaii police officer was sentenced to two years in prison for stealing $1,800 from a man during a traffic stop and conspiring with other cops to bribe the man.
Anthony Maldonado, 29, was sentenced in federal court Tuesday after pleading guilty in April to charges of deprivation of rights under color of law and conspiracy to commit witness tampering.
Reports from Maui Now News show that in September 2015 Maldonado stole $1,800 from a man in a traffic stop at Mala Wharf in Lahaina, according to court documents. The man later reported the theft to the Maui Police Department.
To get the man to withdraw his complaint, Maldonado hatched a scheme with two other Maui police officers. Sgt. Walter Ahuna and Officer Chase Keliipaakaua all approached the victim in an attempt to force him to withdraw his complaint.
(**Sgt. Walter Ahuna and Officer Chase Keliipaakaua**)
Maldonado eventually offered the victim $2,000 in exchange for the victim to withdraw his complaint. The man accepted $1,800 and later reported the bribe to police.
Maldonado apologized in court Tuesday for his actions.
"It's hard for me to imagine what I was thinking," Maldonado said.
In addition to two years in prison, Maldonado was also sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $1,917 in restitution.
Keliipaakaua was convicted for his role in the scheme and received a jail sentence.
Sgt. Ahuna has also been convicted and is scheduled to be sentenced next month.
U.S. Attorney for the District of Hawaii Kenji M. Price said:
"Police officers are sworn to protect and serve; whenever that oath is broken, it is a blow to our community as a whole. That is why our office is committed to vigorously investigating and prosecuting all instances of police misconduct."
All the officers involved were fired from the Maui Police Department.