A veteran Honolulu police officer has been charged with multiple felony counts, including theft and credit card fraud.
Khanh Le, 51, was arrested on Friday, March 10, at Navy Exchange Pearl Harbor.
He was charged with second-degree theft, unauthorized possession of confidential personal information, third-degree identity theft, second-degree forgery, fraudulent use of credit card, and credit card theft.
Le was released after posting $30,000 bail. He pleaded not guilty to the charges during a court appearance on Thursday, March 16.
His trial is scheduled to begin the week of May 15.
According to court documents, Le was arrested with more than $750 worth of merchandise. According to witnesses, he was with a baby at the time and, among other allegations, tried to steal hundreds of dollars worth of fragrances.
Documents also claim he tried to use a Discover credit card that was under a different name, and had charged more than $300 within a six-month period.
KHON2 spoke to the victim’s husband, who said Le opened a credit card under his wife’s name. Neither he nor his wife knew Le, who now lives in their former residence.
The Honolulu Police Department confirms he has been with the department for 12 years and is assigned to District 6 (Waikiki).
Officials say his police powers have been removed and he will be placed on leave without pay. An administrative investigation has been initiated.
We’ve learned from the head of SHOPO, the police officers’ union, that he’s previously gone undercover for the department.
“With his background and being bilinguist, they used him as an undercover officer in certain cases, so he’s definitely brought some experience. He brings that to the table, if you will, good enough where they used him for undercover cases,” said SHOPO president Tenari Maafala.
Maafala says Le also spent several years as a law enforcement officer in Los Angeles before joining HPD. With so many years in law enforcement, he says it’s hard to imagine that Le would find himself in this situation.
“My heart breaks for him and his family, and this is definitely not indicative of the department as a whole,” Maafala said. “It’s just an individual who made a bad choice.”
We reached out to the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs. Officials say it’s easy enough for someone to get a credit card under someone else’s name by getting their mail, because some credit card companies offer the card with pre-screened offers, so you don’t need to provide a social security number or a date of birth.
The state says that’s why you should always check your credit card statements and your credit record regularly.