For at least the past five years, the oldest credit union in New York State has been defrauded by its CEO and President, who embezzled over $6 million dollars from the institution, prosecutors allege. Municipal Credit Union CEO Kam Wong, 62, was arrested this morning by federal agents on charges of embezzlement, bank fraud, wire fraud, and identity theft.
Wong used a variety of "multi-faceted" schemes to embezzle the money since at least 2013, prosecutors allege, including making some 2,500 ATM withdraws using a credit union business credit card, to ostensibly "test" the credit union ATMs. This trick allegedly netted Wong $1.9 million. Prosecutors say Wong also illegally paid himself "millions of dollars in cash payments in lieu of a long-term disability insurance policy, as well as millions more for taxes to cover those payments."
After allegedly getting the credit union's board to pay him directly for "dental work" instead of paying through the insurance company, Wong allegedly submitted fake invoices for dental work, and was reimbursed for hundreds of thousands of dollars in dental work that never happened. If only avoiding the dentist could be so lucrative.
Wong also collected tens of thousands of dollars in annual cash advances, for no apparent justifiable reason, and was paid for 320 days of unused sick leave, "in violation of WONG’s contract and the Credit Union’s policies," according to the indictment.
Over half of this money, according to prosecutors, was spent on lottery tickets—$3.55 million worth, according to the complaint unsealed today. Wong allegedly spent a considerable amount of time buying lottery tickets from locations near his office and his home in Valley Stream, Long Island. He also allegedly swindled Municipal Credit Union money to pay for unnecessary repairs to his Mercedes Benz which the credit union leased for him.
All of this alleged embezzlement is on top of Wong's (legal) $684,000 annual salary. It's unclear if Wong ever saw any return on his $3 million investment in lotto tickets.
"As alleged, the CEO and president of New York’s oldest credit union abused his position of trust as a guardian of municipal, state, and federal workers’ financial accounts to enrich himselt," said U.S. Attorney for the Southern District Geoffrey S. Berman. "Kam Wong allegedly stole money from the credit union’s earnings that were intended to reward the credit union’s members, not line Wong’s pockets."
Headquartered in downtown Manhattan, the Municipal Credit Union is one of the largest in America, providing bank services to more than 425,000 members, including many state, federal and New York City employees.