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Friday, February 18, 2022
Chief Investigator: State Attorney General Refusing to Indict Government Corruption Cases
By Andrew Walden @ 1:06 PM :: 3691 Views :: Ethics, Hawaii State Government, Law Enforcement

FULL TEXT: Written Testimony on SB2930, Feb 17, 2022 (pg 9-10)

(UPDATE: Scroll down for AG's response with accuracy-inducing comments in parenthesis.)

Good afternoon Chair Moriwaki, Chair Dela Cruz, Chair Rhoades, and Committee Members of GVO/JDC/WAM.

I am Daniel Hanagami and I am testifying in my personal capacity and on my own personal time. I am in strong opposition to Senate Bill SB2930 SD1Proposed.

I have been the Chief Special Investigator for the Department of the Attorney General for the past eight years. I was hired in 2013 by former Attorney General David Loui because of my expertise in complex white collar crimes investigations, government corruption investigations and my leadership skills. I served in the Honolulu Police Department for 27.5 years, and 8 years as a private investigator before being hired as the Chief Special Investigator for the Department of the Attorney General.

In retiring as a major in the Honolulu Police Department, I have investigated the majority of the complex white collar-financial fraud crimes and government corruption cases in the history of the State of Hawaii. I had a stellar, accomplished, decorated, and unblemished law enforcement career in serving our community. I take pride in upholding and maintaining the integrity of the Investigation Division and the Department as a whole. Because of my belief in fairness, integrity, and honesty, I am compelled to oppose Senate Bill SB2930 SD1 Proposed.

This bill is retaliatory in nature and the purpose of the bill is to weaponize legislation to remove my supervisory authority as the Chief Special Investigator from my investigators because last year, I had filed civil rights complaint with a federal agency against the Office of the Attorney General. That federal agency charged the Department of the Attorney General with federal civil rights violation based upon my complaint. I had named the culprits in my civil rights violation, the former Attorney General, the current Attorney General, the current Special Assistant to the Attorney General and the Administrative Service Manager. The federal Agency is continuing their investigation.

One of the elements of defined retaliation by that federal agency is when a charged agency conducts materially adverse action by removing supervisory responsibilities from the complainant. That is what the Office of the Attorney General is doing to me. Since they cannot remove me from my position as Chief Special Investigator, since I have done nothing wrong, they weaponized this bill seeking to sideline my authority in supervising my investigators, or new investigators coming into the area of my responsibilities, which this new bill proposes.

The bill intends to establish new investigator and staffing positions in the Criminal Justice Division and the plan of the Attorney General is to move my current white collar crime unit into these proposed new positions, thus reducing by supervisory capabilities. These proposed moves were discussed with some of my investigators in my white collar crime unit and they all refused to be moved to be under the supervision of the Deputy Attorney General in the Criminal Justice Division. These moves were never discussed with me and in the Attorney General is in violation of the spirit of Hawaii Revised Statutes §89-1 "Statement of findings and policy, where public employees have been granted the right to share in the decision-making process affecting wages and working conditions, they have become more responsive and better able to exchange ideas and information on operations with their administrators."

Granted that the Attorney General can restructure the department as how she desires, but she cannot be allowed to do it in retaliation of my civil rights.

As the bill describes, they Attorney General wants to place the proposed investigators and clerical staffing under the supervision of the attorney in the Criminal Justice Division, which makes no sense because the purpose of the Chief Special Investigator is to supervise investigators.

The committees should scrutinize this proposed bill. A few years back, the former Attorney General requested funding of approximately $800,000.00 to form a Complex Litigation Fraud & Compliance Unit (CLFCU). The majority of the unit was employed with retired federal investigators (who were designated as analysts and were paid a higher salary than Special Agents) and a retired federal prosecutor (who became a Senior Deputy Attorney General supervising the criminal investigation aspect of the unit). These analysts were selected because they all worked with the prior Attorney General while she was a federal prosecutor. The unit was supposed to assist and support the Investigations Division in doing financial analysis. They did for a while, but that relationship did not last too long due to personality conflicts and these analysts refused to assist the Special Agents in the Investigations Division.

The CLFCU unit was to spearhead the criminal prosecution of White Collar and government corruption crimes. So far, completed cases that were sent to the unit have not been forwarded for indictments and are held in abeyance for no reason. The unit has not been managed properly and the deputy attorneys general in the unit have not been supervised properly.

Concerning matters of recovering monies, none have been recovered by that unit.

The unit has been slowly crumbling and dissolving. Former members of the unit have transferred out or resigned and the remainder of the personnel been assigned to the Criminal Justice Division.

Further, it is questionable as why the Attorney General wants to create a Human Trafficking Unit when the Honolulu Prosecutor's have one and they are backed up by the Honolulu Police Department Morals unit to investigate such matters.

---30---

SB2930: Text, Status

AS EXPLAINED: Big Win for Mafia: Biden Appoints AG Connors US Attorney

CB: Top State Investigator Says White Collar Crime Unit Sat On Government Corruption Cases  

CB: Hawaii Attorney General’s Office Defends White Collar Crime Unit

... On Friday, the AG’s office said Hanagami’s characterization of the fraud unit’s work and the legislative measure is inaccurate.

“The department believes that using the legislative process to air grievances is inappropriate and an improper use of the valuable and limited time to hear important legislative matters,” Gary Yamashiroya, a spokesman for the department, said in a written statement to Civil Beat responding to Hanagami’s allegations.

(Translation: Hanagami needs to shut up.)

In annual reports to the public, the unit highlights civil cases that it has taken on. However, Yamashiroya said the fraud unit has worked on criminal cases, but the department can’t discuss what those cases are since they are still ongoing.

(Translation: Hanagami is right, not a single case has resulted in indictments.) 

The unit worked on a federal and state task force to investigate fraud related to Covid-19 programs and also assisted the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations in investigating fraudulent unemployment claims, according to the unit’s 2021 report.

The unit is also staffed with a “full complement of some of our best deputy attorneys general,” Yamashiroya said. The litigation unit also gathered evidence for the contested case hearings over the Navy’s use of the Red Hill fuel facility.

(Translation: We haven’t done any of our own cases at all.)

Hanagami said that the three-year-old unit was dissolving. But Yamashiroya explained in a statement that the unit’s “criminal fraud and corruption responsibilities” were moved over to a different section of the department called the Criminal Justice Division about six months ago.

(Translation: Hanagami is right, the unit is dissolving.)

“While Mr. Hanagami may view the decision to be motivated by a desire to strip him of supervisory authority, the bills instead are designed to serve the public,” Yamashiroya said. “We would suggest that it is inappropriate to debate Mr. Hanagami’s employment grievances during a legislative process designed to develop laws to advance the public interest.”

(Translation: Hanagami is right, we are stripping him of supervisory authority.)

Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz said that structuring the new unit in a way that allows investigators to work with government attorneys and prosecutors could help ensure better outcomes for investigations.

Dela Cruz said he introduced SB 2930, not the AG’s office, and that Hanagami’s issues with the department weren’t on his radar.

(Translation: SB2930 was introduced by Sen DelaCruz who is one of the most likely targets of any political corruption investigation.) ....  

BEST COMMENT: “Yamashiroya doesn’t dispute that corruption investigations were referred to the AG’s office for prosecution yet no cases were brought - as was asserted by Hanagami. The problem isn’t that Hanagami used the legislative hearing to disclose this. The problem is that it is only the feds bringing corruption cases despite the fact that corruption seems to be running rampant in both state and city governments. I understand that the AG is restricted from commenting on specific investigations. But : Why hasn’t the AG’s office brought any corruption cases? Have public officials used undue influence to avoid prosecutions by the AG?”

read ... Hawaii Attorney General’s Office Defends White Collar Crime Unit

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