Correction officers' union president arrested
The FBI arrested a New York union leader Wednesday morning in connection with a multimillion-dollar bribery scheme that also led to charges against a hedge fund manager.
Morris Park's Norman Seabrook, president of the city's Correction Officers' Benevolent Association for more than 20 years, faces a 17-page indictment on various fraud and corruption charges.
FBI agents removed boxes of evidence from Seabrook's Muliner Avenue home Wednesday morning. Elsewhere in New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio blasted Seabrook over the allegations, calling them disgusting.
United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara accused Seabrook of taking part in a bribery scheme for the last three years.
Prosecutors say Seabrook received $60,000 in kickbacks from hedge fund manager Murray Huberfeld for investing $20 million in union funds with the latter's Platinum Partners hedge fund. Court documents allege Seabrook was expecting further payoffs totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Prosecutors said the hedge fund was in desperate need of money before the move.
The union had never before invested in a hedge fund, Bharara said. And Platinum Partners had never before received an investment from a retirement fund.
"We allege this was not a coincidence," Bharara told reporters. "It was corruption."
Authorities also arrested Huberfeld Wednesday.
The investment included retirement money from 9,000 of the union's correction officers.
Authorities said an unidentified middle man who also played a role in the alleged conspiracy led them to Seabrook and Huberfeld. Investigators also spent months wiretapping phones.
The trio allegedly tried to cover up the scheme by using a fake invoice that indicated the $60,000 went to season tickets for the Knicks.
For his part, Seabrook described the charges as merely allegations and denied receiving the money.