A federal jury convicted Norman Seabrook, the former boss of New York City’s Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association, of fraud in connection with a kickback scheme in which prosecutors said he invested millions of dollars of union money in a risky hedge fund.
A federal jury convicted Norman Seabrook, the former boss of New York City’s jail officers’ union, of fraud in connection with a kickback scheme in which prosecutors said he invested millions of dollars of union money in a risky hedge fund, the Wall Street Journal reports. Seabrook, 58, was found guilty of honest-services wire fraud and conspiracy. Seabrook’s former co-defendant, Murray Huberfeld, pleaded guilty to a lesser charge. Huberfeld, co-founder of now-defunct hedge fund Platinum Partners, is scheduled to be sentenced in November.
During the trial, prosecutors argued Mr. Seabrook invested $20 million in union funds in Platinum Partners in exchange for a percentage of the profits. His first kickback, according to prosecutors, was $60,000 in cash, delivered in a Salvatore Ferragamo bag by businessman Jona Rechnitz. Seabrook’s attorneys said the prosecutors’ case was built around Rechnitz, an unreliable witness. Seabrook served for more than two decades as the head of the Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association, the largest municipal jail union in the U.S. He was known for clashing with City Hall, cultivating the loyalty of his officers and exercising vast authority over city jails, including those on Rikers Island. “Seabrook’s is the fifth major public corruption conviction by our office in as many months,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said in a statement, citing convictions of former state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, former state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, former gubernatorial aide Joseph Percoco, and Alain Kaloyeros, former head of SUNY Polytechnic Institute.