What to Know
- The CEO and president of the oldest New York credit union is facing charges in connection to embezzling money
- Kam Wong, allegedly engaged in a long-running scheme to obtain money that he wasn’t entitled to from the credit union
- Wong allegedly spent about $3.55 million of the money he embezzled on New York State Lottery tickets, authorities say
The CEO and president of the oldest New York credit union is facing charges in connection to embezzling money, which he allegedly used to buy millions of dollars worth of lottery tickets, among other things, authorities say.
From at least 2013 to January 2018, Kam Wong engaged in a long-running scheme to obtain money that he wasn’t entitled to from the credit union for which he served as chief executive officer and president, according to the U.S. Attorney of the Southern District of New York Geoffrey S. Berman.
Wong, 62, allegedly deposited the proceeds of his scheme into a credit account between July 2013 and January 2018. He then withdrew about $1.9 million over the course of more than 2,500 transactions, officials say, adding that from this account, he also spent about $3.55 million on New York State Lottery tickets.
Wong allegedly took steps to conceal what he had done by submitting sham invoices for dental work never performed on him or paid by him and obtained reimbursement for hundreds of thousands of dollars of such nonexistent dental work, Berman says.
According to authorities, Wong also allegedly obtained numerous other payments from the credit union under questionable circumstances, including millions of dollars in cash in lieu of a long-term disability insurance policy; reimbursement payments for repairs to a luxury vehicle the credit union leased to him; cash withdrawals from his business credit card to purportedly test out the ATMs; substantial educational, housing, and living expenses for acquaintances, whom the credit union hired at his direction to be interns; tens of thousands of dollars in annual cash advances, for which he provided no supporting documentation; and payments for 320 days of purportedly unused sick leave, in violation of is contract and the credit union’s policies.
In early 2018, Wong learned about the investigation and allegedly misled federal agents and the credit union’s board members in order to justify some of these payments. Subsequently, he was placed on leave by the credit union’s board of directors in late February 2018.
Wong faces one count of embezzlement from a federally insured credit union, one count of bank fraud, one count of wire fraud, each of which carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison, and one count of aggravated identify theft, which carries a mandatory two-year consecutive term in prison.
It is not immediately clear if Wong retained an attorney that could comment on the charges.
According to authorities, the credit union in New York State and one of the oldest and largest in the country, providing bank services to nearly 500,000 members, including municipal, state, and federal workers in New York City.
The credit union’s earnings are intended to go back to its members in the form of more favorable rates, as well as fewer and lower fees for products and services.