Arrested Hawaii official accused of lying about education

HONOLULU — The head of training at the Hawaii Department of Public Safety was arrested on allegations that she lied about her educational background.

Public Training Officer J. Marte Martinez was arrested Thursday on charges of perjury, tampering with a government record and unsworn falsification to authorities.

Reached by phone Friday, Martinez, who was released on $11,000 bond, said her attorney advised not to speak about the allegations.

“She’s looking forward to her day in court,” said her attorney, Myles Breiner. “She’s looking forward to defending herself against these allegations.”

A complaint filed in court said Martinez made false statements about her educational background while testifying under oath before the Hawaii Labor Relations Board in 2019.

The alleged false statements included having a liberal arts degree from Northern Virginia University.

There doesn’t appear to be a university with that name. The court document also mentions University of Northern Virginia, which Virginia officials ordered to shut down in 2013. According to the school’s website, it’s now located in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

An email sent to the school wasn’t immediately answered Friday.

Martinez is also accused of submitting a transcript to the public safety department “purported to be from the Southern Oregon University, which was falsely made, completed, or altered,” the complaint said.

A Southern Oregon spokesperson directed The Associated Press to submit a public records request for any possible student records for Martinez. The school didn’t immediately answer a request The Associated Press submitted Friday.

When applying for positions in the public safety department, she submitted an application that contained “statements about her educational background that she did not believe to be true,” the complaint said.

Department spokeswoman Toni Schwartz said Martinez started as a firearms training tech in 2014.

“The Department of Public Safety holds their employees regardless of rank or title to the highest standard of integrity and will hold them accountable if they breach the public’s trust,” Director Max Otani said. “However, as we await the outcome of the investigation, it is important to keep in mind that everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty.”


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