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Prison time for ex-Maui officer for fraud in pursuit of sex

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HONOLULU — A former Maui police officer was sentenced Wednesday to two-and-a-half years in prison for fraud charges resulting from when he solicited sex from a woman he pulled over.

Brandon Saffeels pleaded guilty in May to seven counts of honest services wire fraud. He said he offered to help the woman by botching his testimony in the 2019 traffic stop and eventually wanted to pursue a sexual relationship with her.

Prosecutors said he got the woman's phone number from a police report and then solicited a bribe in the form of sexual favors in exchange for helping her circumvent prosecution.

In one text message, Saffeels told the woman he could help get her driving while intoxicated case thrown out and that it was a good thing she didn't take a breath or blood test, prosecutors said.

Saffeels also instructed the woman to go to his house and bring clothes, prosecutors said.

Saffeels, 36, "betrayed our expectation that law enforcement officers will not take advantage of their authority for personal benefit," Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Hawaii Judith Philips said.

Maui prosecutors dropped the charge against the woman after portions of the text messages and recorded phone conversations were published by the media, federal prosecutors said.

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