Chief of New York Jail Officers’ Union Is Arrested on Fraud Charges Tied to de Blasio Inquiry

Posted by on Jun 08, 2016 at 8:09 am

The powerful leader of the union that represents New York City correction officers, whose alliances with mayors and governors have afforded him broad influence, was arrested on federal fraud charges on Wednesday, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The charges against the union leader, Norman Seabrook, and a second defendant, Murray Huberfeld, a hedge-fund financier, stem from the first major criminal case linked to one of several corruption investigations focused on the campaign fund-raising of Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat.

The relationship between the mayor and Mr. Seabrook has been close in the past. At a 2014 fund-raiser for a union charity; Mr. de Blasio referred to Mr. Seabrook as a “friend” and a “great leader.”

Mr. Seabrook, the longtime president of the 9,000-member Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association, was taken into custody at his Bronx home around 6 a.m. by agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the people with knowledge of the matter said. Mr. Huberfeld, the founder or Centurion Credit Management, which was later subsumed by the top-performing Platinum Partners, was taken into custody at his home at about the same time.

The charges, brought by prosecutors in the office of Preet Bharara, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, involve Mr. Seabrook’s investment of roughly $10 million from his union’s pension fund in Platinum Partners through Mr. Huberfeld, and Mr. Huberfeld’s payment of a kickback to the union leader, the people said.

Mr. Bharara and Diego Rodriguez, the assistant F.B.I. director who heads the bureau’s New York office, were expected to announce the charges at a news conference early Wednesday afternoon.

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