Federal prosecutors have charged a New York state judge with conspiracy and obstruction of justice in connection with an investigation into fraud at the state’s oldest credit union. The woman is accused of attempting to destroy evidence by deleting text messages and erasing the memory of a mobile phone. Her bond has been set at $500,000 according to media reports. She faces up to 20 years in a federal prison if convicted of all the charges against her.
The judge was appointed to the bench in 2006 and was presiding over the Commercial Division of the Kings County Supreme Court at the time of her arrest. She served as a voluntary member of the Municipal Credit Union’s board between 2008 and 2016. The MCU has over 500,000 members and deposits of almost $3 billion. While she was not paid a salary by the MCU, the judge received reimbursement in the form of travel benefits and other perks.
The MCU’s former CEO is currently in federal custody as he awaits sentencing. He has pleaded guilty to defrauding the credit union out of millions of dollars. The attorney representing the judge told reporters that his client denies any wrongdoing and will be exonerated in court. Police have also charged a former New York City police officer with stealing almost $500,000 from the MCU and selling drugs to its former CEO.
Cases like this one often rely on the accounts of co-conspirators. When this kind of testimony is not supported by more compelling evidence, experienced criminal defense attorneys may argue that prosecutors have failed to establish a prima facie case and that the charges against their clients should be dismissed. When prosecutors can produce corroborating evidence, attorneys might seek to reduce the penalties their clients will face by offering a quick resolution during plea negotiations.