Former Honolulu administrator pleads guilty to embezzlement

HONOLULU (AP) — The city of Honolulu’s former Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act program administrator has pleaded guilty to federal charges including embezzlement and agreeing to a bribe, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Hanalei Aipoalani, 42, pleaded guilty last Friday to embezzling more than $500,000 from a local nonprofit group and accepting a bribe from someone who filed two fraudulent applications for federal coronavirus relief funds, the Justice Department said in a statement.

Aipoalani faces a likely recommended sentence of up to seven years and three months in prison, according to the statement.

The former administrator was hired in August and had previously run for political office multiple times.

Between 2014 and 2019, Aipoalani is accused of embezzling more than $527,000 by submitting false claims for payments to AmeriCorps members, the statement said. He also created fraudulent reimbursement invoices, according to the Justice Department.