Kenoi indicted for felony theft over pCard purchases

Hawaii 24/7 Staff

A Big Island grand jury on Wednesday indicted Hawaii County Mayor William P. Kenoi for two counts of felony theft, two additional counts of misdemeanor theft, three counts of tampering with a government record and one count of false swearing.

The charges were announced Wednesday afternoon in a press release from the state Department of the Attorney General.

The charges arose from alleged conduct taking place from 2011 through 2015 while Kenoi was in office. Authorities began the investigation in connection with the two-term mayor’s alleged misuse of a county-issued purchasing card, or pCard.

The charges are:

* Counts 1 and 2: Theft in the Second Degree, Class C felonies each punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

* Counts 3 and 4: Theft in the Third Degree, misdemeanors each punishable by up to one year in jail and a $2,000 fine.

* Counts 5, 6 and 7: Tampering with a Government Record, misdemeanors each punishable by up to one year in jail and a $2,000 fine.

* Count 8: False Swearing, a petty misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Attorney General Doug Chin said “The Department of the Attorney General sought this indictment after an intensive investigation that lasted almost a year. I thank the investigators and prosecutors for their efforts.”

An indictment is a finding of probable cause and is not a criminal conviction. Kenoi is presumed innocent unless and until he is found guilty of the charges beyond a reasonable doubt.

The allegations were made public one year ago, which led Kenoi to acknowledge making unauthorized purchases of more than $129,000 for personal purposes. Kenoi took full responsibility for his actions and publicly apologized, adding he had re-paid all the funds and turned in his pCard.

A bench warrant was issued for his arrest following Wednesday’s indictment. Kenoi is expected to turn himself in and be released on his own recognizance after being booked.