State Ethics Commission resolves charge against Bernie Abella, Adult Corrections Officer, Department of Public Safety
From Hawaii State Ethics Commission, December 7, 2016
On April 15, 2015, the Hawaii State Ethics Commission (“Commission”) issued a Charge against Respondent Bernie Abella (“Respondent Abella”) for alleged violations of the State Ethics Code, Hawaii Revised Statutes (“HRS”) chapter 84. Respondent Abella was employed by the Department of Public Safety (“DPS”) as an Adult Corrections Officer (“ACO”) at the Hawaii Community Correctional Center (“HCCC”) from approximately April 2007 through January 31, 2010.
The Commission and Respondent Abella agreed to resolve the Charge with Respondent Abella’s payment of an administrative penalty of $1,500 to the State of Hawaii; restitution of $3,000 to a former inmate (“Inmate”) of HCCC; and the publication of this Resolution of Charge….
In or around November 2009, Respondent Abella and two other ACOs, ACO A and ACO B, planned to obtain money from Inmate. Respondent Abella planned to cause Inmate to execute a Power of Attorney appointing ACO A as Inmate’s attorney for the purpose of making a one-time withdrawal of $10,000 from Inmate’s bank account with the intent that the money be divided and distributed between the three ACOs. …
On November 18, 2009, Inmate executed a Power of Attorney, effective from November 20, 2009 to December 20, 2009, and witnessed by ACO B, giving ACO A Inmate’s power of attorney for the purpose of making a $10,000 withdrawal from Inmate’s bank account. On December 14, 2009, Respondent Abella, ACO A and ACO B drove from Hilo to the bank branch in Kailua-Kona where, using the Power of Attorney, ACO A withdrew $10,000 from Inmate’s account. ACO A was issued a cashier’s check in his name for this amount. On December 22, 2009, ACO A deposited the $10,000 in his own bank account. Subsequently, on or around January 7, 2010, ACO A gave Respondent Abella and ACO B cashier’s checks, drawn on ACO A’s bank account, in the amount of $3,000 each. On or about January 11, 2010, Respondent Abella cashed, or caused to have cashed, this check….
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