Department of Planning and Permitting Supervisor Sentenced to 60 Months in Prison for Bribery Scheme
HONOLULU – United States District Judge Leslie E. Kobayashi today sentenced Brandon Charles Saffeels, 36, a resident of Maui and former Maui Police Department (MPD) officer, to 30 months in prison for public corruption in the form of honest services wire fraud. The indictment to which Saffeels pled guilty in May 2021 alleges that he engaged in a bribery scheme wherein he solicited a sexual relationship with a female motorist in exchange for an official act as an MPD officer.
According to court documents and information provided in court, in July 2019, then-MPD Officer Saffeels arrested a woman ("Individual A") for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicant, and, after she was released from custody, Saffeels began communicating with Individual A over the phone and through text messages. Among other things, Saffeels told Individual A that he would help her to beat the state case being brought against her by the Prosecuting Attorney for the County of Maui. Saffeels explained that he would provide perjured testimony at her trial so that the court would throw it out or the jury would find in her favor. However, Saffeels told Individual A that she would have to meet in person for him to help her. At one point during the course of their communications, he invited her to come to his house and told her to bring clothes.
Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Hawaii Judith A. Philips said: "Brandon Saffeels betrayed our expectation that law enforcement officers will not take advantage of their authority for personal benefit. This prosecution demonstrates our determination to hold public officials accountable for criminal abuse of their positions."
FBI Special Agent in Charge Steven Merrill said: "The cornerstone of the public’s trust in law enforcement relies on the expectation that each person who takes the oath to protect and serve the public will do so with integrity. Today, former Officer Saffeels was sentenced for violating that trust. I’m proud of our team who worked collaboratively after becoming aware of concerns regarding the former officer’s conduct. They exemplify our commitment to ensure all public servants are worthy of the public’s trust and confidence."
The FBI conducted the investigation resulting in this conviction. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mohammad Khatib is handling the prosecution.