Ed Mullins, former NYPD union leader facing fraud charge, turns himself in
The former president of a powerful New York police union has been accused of defrauding the union of hundreds of thousands of dollars by filing false and inflated expense reports for bills that were supposed to be for union business but who in fact were not, federal prosecutors said Wednesday. .
Former union president Edward D. Mullins, the longtime combative leader of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, has sought reimbursement for hundreds of high-end meals, clothing, jewelry, appliances and travel expenses. a parent’s schooling, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan said. a court record.
In total, Mr Mullins, 60, was reimbursed by the union over a recent four-year period for more than $1 million in expenses, the majority of which were obtained fraudulently, the government said.
The charity is the fifth-largest police union in the United States, with a membership of about 13,000 active and retired police sergeants in New York, authorities said. Mr Mullins had stood and been elected president for five successive four-year terms, and by around 2017, according to the government, had devised a plan to fund his personal expenses with union money.
Mr. Mullins, who surrendered to the FBI on Wednesday morning, pleaded not guilty and was released on $250,000 bond at a brief hearing in federal district court in Manhattan.
During the hearing, Mr. Mullins, who wore a gray suit and a red-striped tie, sat next to his lawyer, Marc L. Mukasey. Afterwards, Mr Mukasey waved to a group of around two dozen reporters and photographers, saying “no comment” as they left the courthouse.
The charge represents the latest chapter in the rapid collapse of the career of Mr. Mullins, a once influential police union official who retired on November 5 after four decades with the department, on the same day officials said announced that he had been convicted of two department offenses and was fined $32,000 for violating rules governing the use of social media.
In a message that Mr Mullins had posted on Twitter, he released an unredacted police report implicating then-Mayor Bill de Blasio’s daughter, Chiara. In other posts, Mr Mullins used vulgar language to disparage city officials.
Mr. Mullins had quit his union job a month earlier, hours after his Long Island home and the union’s Manhattan headquarters were raided by FBI agents. At the time, the union issued a statement acknowledging the search and saying Mr Mullins was “apparently the target” of a federal investigation.
On Wednesday, the union did not respond to a message seeking comment.
Damian Williams, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said Mr Mullins “abused his position of trust and authority to fund a lavish lifestyle paid for by the monthly dues of thousands of hardworking sergeants in the NYPD.”
The union’s active members pay an annual fee of about $1,300 and its retired members pay a one-time fee of $600, the government said.
Michael J. Driscoll, the FBI’s New York bureau chief, said the union was supposed to represent the best interests of its members. Mr. Mullins, he said, “went above and beyond to serve his own best interests”.
The government provided details of Mr Mullins’ alleged scheme in a detailed charging document filed in court.
In some instances, according to the record, Mr. Mullins included meals on his expense reports that were unrelated to union business. In late 2019, for example, he submitted expense reports for more than $3,000 from an upscale restaurant in Greenwich Village, according to the filing.
The bills, in fact, were for meals twice by family members and personal associates of Mr Mullins who dined at the restaurant, the government said.
In other instances, according to the filing, Mr. Mullins inflated the costs of his meals, whether for union business or not, “in order to steal more money” from the union, according to the filing.
He also kept two copies of his credit card statements. The first, often labeled with a sticky note bearing the words “Clean Copy”, had no additional markings. The second, often labeled a “working copy” or “working sheet,” included Mr. Mullins’ handwritten notations, indicating where he changed the amount and sometimes the type of expense, according to the court filing.
The ‘working copy’ of Mr Mullins’ April 2021 credit card statement, for example, shows he changed a New Jersey wine bar’s $45.92 charge to 845.92 $; and that he inflated a steakhouse bill from $609.89 to $909.89, according to the court filing.
He also said he also changed a $185.88 charge from a Long Island supermarket to a $685.88 charge from an Italian restaurant in Manhattan.
Mr. Mullins then submitted the expenses without receipts to the union treasurer, who approved the reimbursements, according to the filing.
In a statement, New York Police Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell said, “Ed Mullins allegedly violated the ethics and rules of this department, the trust of the 13,000 sergeants, serving and retired he represented. , and the laws of the United States.”
Mr. Mullins, of Port Washington, NY, was charged with one count of wire fraud, which carries a potential maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, the U.S. attorney’s office said.
Chelsia Rose Marcius contributed reporting.