Former MPD Officer Pleads Guilty to Fraud
Brandon Charles Saffeels, 36, a resident of Maui and former Maui Police Department (MPD) officer, pleaded guilty Wednesday before United States District Judge Leslie E. Kobayashi to a seven-count indictment charging him with public corruption in the form of honest services wire fraud.
The indictment alleges that Saffeels 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. Sentencing is set before Judge Kobayashi, on October 13, 2021.
According to court documents and information provided in court, in July 2019 Saffeels arrested a woman (“Individual A”) for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicant. 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: “Integrity. Compassion. Fairness. Service. Those are the guiding principles of the Maui Police Department’s mission. Brandon Saffeels’ conduct violated each of these core principles. As a sworn police officer, Mr. Saffeels was charged with serving the public. According to the indictment, he instead used the power bestowed upon him by the people of Maui to solicit a sexual relationship. Thanks to the MPD’s swift action to remove Mr. Saffeels from its ranks and the FBI’s diligent efforts to bring him to justice, the public can rest assured that such misconduct will not be tolerated.”
Saffeels faces a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment and a fine of not more than $250,000 as to each of the seven counts when he is sentenced. Judge Kobayashi will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. The FBI conducted the investigation resulting in this conviction. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mohammad Khatib and Morgan Early are prosecuting the case.