HONOLULU – A 33-year-old madam who said her elite escort business offered prostitution services to some of Hawaii’s most prominent judges, politicians and entertainers, has made stunning allegations in a civil lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court against a Special Agent with Homeland Security Investigations U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement division.
Malia Arciero, a Portlock resident who said she operated an escort service for nearly a decade beginning in 2001, accuses Ryan Faulkner, a Special Agent with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement division, of abusing his authority. According to the lawsuit, she said she witnessed – and was even a victim – of his criminal activity while she worked as his informant over a 6-month period from April 28, 2013, and ended in the fall of 2013. (See the Arciero lawsuit here)
Faulkner arrested Arciero on April 30, 2013 on drug possession and distribution charges that may land her in federal prison for as long as 10 years. Arciero’s attorney, Gary Dubin, filed the civil lawsuit Arciero’s behalf on March 27, 2014.
In an explosive interview with Hawaii Reporter, Arciero admits she worked as prostitute after becoming a dancer at the strip club Golden Dolls at age 16. Starting in 2001, she said she managed 5 to 6 women in an exclusive escort service, protecting them from whims of violent pimps. She booked appointments via her escort web site with some of Hawaii’s most well known residents, after which she and the other escorts met the clients in hotel rooms and private residences.
Faulkner’s October 2013 affidavit documenting Arciero’s arrest notes the existence of electronic recordings of an illegal drug buy that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents set up at Faulkner’s direction to target Arciero and her sister, Keke.
However, Arciero said it was an informant working for Faulkner and simultaneously dating her sister Keke who planted drugs and set them up. She told Hawaii Reporter it was part of Faulkner’s plan to get her to work as his informant, so he could tap into her many underworld sources.
Arciero said even though she had ended her escort service and secured her real estate license and was finally getting her life on track just before she was arrested, she was forced to work for Faulkner. She said she and Faulkner knew each other since childhood when they lived in the same neighborhood and also saw each other at social events they mutually attended. She maintains he put her in life threatening situations and forced her to use her own money for drug and firearms buys from felons that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents were targeting.
In one of the most graphic sections of the lawsuit, Arciero claims Faulkner sexually assaulted her late at night in a supply closet at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement division headquarters after he handcuffed her to a table. In the lawsuit, she offered graphic details as evidence of the assault she alleges.
Reached by phone at headquarters in Honolulu, Faulkner said he cannot comment on the lawsuit because even though he has read the allegations, he has not officially been served.
While he doesn’t have an attorney representing him, Faulkner said he will likely obtain counsel through the U.S Department of Justice since he is being sued for conduct that allegedly happened when he was on the job. The request for counsel can only be initiated once the employee is served with the lawsuit, Faulkner said.
“As much as I would love to, I have been told that I cannot comment on it, unfortunately,” Faulkner said. “I would love to just wear my heart on my sleeve, but I just have to weather it. I can’t comment. I am sorry,” he said, after acknowledging the seriousness of the allegations against him by Arciero.
Faulkner was a police officer with the Honolulu Police Department for 10 years before joining Homeland Security Investigations in 2007.
Teresa Bell, spokeswoman for the Honolulu Police Department, said unless Faulkner was discharged for misconduct, which he was not, his records cannot be made public.
A Honolulu Star-Bulletin news article from the year 2000 shows Faulkner won a certificate of merit from the police department when he and two other officers extinguished an apartment fire in Waikiki and rescued an elderly woman.
In an affidavit filed about Arciero’s drug arrest, Faulkner said he has conducted and assisted in more than 200 investigations involving narcotics trafficking and financial crimes.
Contacted by phone, Faulkner’s immediate supervisor would not comment on the lawsuit, also noting he didn’t believe it was official, because Faulkner had not been served.
While U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement was not named as a defendant in the lawsuit, one of its experienced vice officers is accused of criminal behavior.
During her time as an informant, Arciero said in the lawsuit that she was in constant contact with Faulkner, “on call 24-7,” and a witness to what she says was increasingly unprofessional, and then frightening behavior.
Arciero said he told her she’d still be able to breathe outside air if she did whatever he wanted her to do. “I’m your handler and I own you,” Arciero said Faulkner told her.
In the lawsuit, Arciero cited multiple times where she witnessed Faulkner confiscating as much as $200,000 in cash during various arrests, then kept the cash for himself. She claimed Faulkner turned over the drugs he confiscated to a known drug dealer who then sold the drugs for both of them to profit. Just a fraction of what Faulkner collected was turned in as evidence, she said.
“No one seemed to be supervising him,” Aciero claimed in the lawsuit.
During her interview with Hawaii Reporter, Arciero also alleges corruption within Faulker’s unit, which investigates illegal drug and firearms sales.
A spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement based in California, said: “U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) doesn’t comment on pending litigation.”
She said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) places the highest priority on protecting the safety of those it serves. She maintained the agency has strict safeguards and protocols in place –governed by regulation and policy — to ensure the security of its special agents and officers, employees, crime victims, and individuals who come into the agency’s custody.
Dubin said two investigators from Homeland Security Investigations will interview Arciero in the coming days and look into her allegations.
While Arciero awaits her criminal trial in August, she is being held in the Honolulu Federal Detention Center. She said she was rearrested after 6 months as Faulkner’s informant because she stopped communicating with him when he threatened to sexually assault her again.
Both Dubin and Arciero said they are concerned Arciero may be hurt or killed in prison before her trial.