Friday, April 9, 2021

Former CEO of Melrose Credit Union convicted on bribery charges

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Alan Kaufman, the former CEO of Melrose Credit Union in New York, was convicted in federal court Wednesday on two counts of bribery, each of which carries a maximum prison sentence of 30 years.

Kaufman was convicted of participating in a scheme in which he accepted rent-free housing and financing for a home purchase from Tony Georgiton, the owner of a taxi medallion brokerage and a member of the credit union, in exchange for approving millions of dollars in loans for Georgiton’s businesses. Kaufman was also convicted for accepting vacations to destinations including Paris and Hawaii in exchange for advertising purchases.

Kaufman’s conviction follows a two-week trial and he will appear for sentencing on June 23. Georgiton pleaded guilty in September. The jury’s verdict in the Kaufman case was unanimous.

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“Kaufman shirked his fiduciary obligation to act in the best interests of Melrose to instead exploit his control of union funds for his own personal gain,” Audrey Strauss, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a press release. “Melrose’s members certainly deserved better representation than Alan Kaufman, who placed his own selfish needs above theirs.”

Kaufman was charged in July 2019 and, in a rare move, the National Credit Union Administration brought charges against him one month later. That same summer, Kaufman received a prohibition order from the agency, barring him from participating in the affairs of any federally insured financial institution.

Melrose Credit Union was placed into conservatorship in 2017 and liquidated in 2018 following a string of losses related to fraud and over-concentration in taxi medallion lending.

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