United States: Former Platinum hedge fund exec gets prison in New York City corruption case

A co-founder of the Platinum Partners hedge fund firm was sentenced on Tuesday to seven months in prison for his role in a bribery scheme involving the once-powerful head of New York City’s correction officers’ union.

Murray Huberfeld, 60, had pleaded guilty to wire fraud conspiracy over a kickback to Norman Seabrook, the convicted former chief of the Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association.

U.S. District Judge Lewis Liman in Manhattan said he was moved by “truly extraordinary” letters of support for Huberfeld and that “a person’s crime does not define a person’s life,” but felt a “need” to impose prison time.

“Mr. Huberfeld’s crime was a serious one,” Liman said. “This was not a momentary lapse.”

The defendant will surrender on Oct. 15.

Prosecutors said Huberfeld in 2014 arranged a $60,000 cash kickback to Seabrook after the union chief had steered $20 million of his members’ money to Platinum, which was then struggling with investor redemptions.

Jona Rechnitz, a former donor to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio who became a star government witness in municipal corruption cases, testified to delivering the kickback to Seabrook in a Salvatore Ferragamo bag.

Before being sentenced, Huberfeld told Liman he had apologized to union members, repaid the union $5.5 million and planned to repay $1.5 million more.

“Every day I am faced with the hard fact that my actions caused so much hurt,” Huberfeld said, often struggling to maintain his composure. “What I did was wrong.”

Prosecutors had sought one year in prison. Huberfeld’s lawyer, Andrew Levander, requested six months of home confinement, citing his client’s acceptance of responsibility and deteriorating health, “particularly in this era of COVID.”

Another judge had sentenced Huberfeld to 2-1/2 years in prison in February 2019, but a federal appeals court set aside that punishment last August.

Seabrook is serving a 58-month prison term. Rechnitz was sentenced in December 2019 to five months each of prison and home confinement after pleading guilty to a fraud conspiracy charge.

The article has been summarised and the original full article can be found at reuters.com

(Photo: REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz/File)

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