Joseph Guagliardo, a former police officer who for 25 years held top-level positions with the Municipal Credit Union, was sentenced to 27 months in prison July 23 for exploiting those positions to embezzle $450,000 from the organization over a nine-year period.
He was able to do so, Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said following his sentencing, because for much of that period he was illegal providing painkillers to the MCU's then-CEO, Kam Wong, who is currently serving a 5 1/2-year prison sentence for ripping off millions of dollars from the organization that he squandered primarily on lottery tickets and high living.
Taking a $900G Hit
In addition to the prison time, which will be followed by two years of supervised release, Mr. Guagliardo has been ordered to forfeit $425,514 and pay another $468,189 in restitution to the MCU, which is the oldest credit union in the state and, with more than 500,000 members and $2.9 billion in assets, one of the largest in the nation.
Mr. Guagliardo, who pleaded guilty in January, served as a member of the MCU Supervisory Committee from 1993 to 2018, except for a brief period when he was a member of MCU's board of directors. He was removed from the Supervisory Committee in May 2018 as the extent of the crimes committed by Mr. Wong became better known following his arrest four months earlier and the investigation zeroed in on other top MCU officials.
Before pleading guilty to a single count of embezzlement that could have drawn a sentence of up to 30 years behind bars, Mr. Guagliardo had been charged with causing the MCU to direct more than $250,000 to a security company he created and controlled and with overbilling the credit union by more than $200,000 for web advertising services provided by a non-profit organization that he also controlled.
During much of the nine-year period beginning in 2009, he was also unlawfully distributing prescription drugs classified as controlled substances to Mr. Wong, some of which he obtained from his spouse, a doctor who worked for an unidentified public hospital, with the others supplied by another doctor affiliated with the NYPD. At the time of his indictment last October, Federal prosecutors identified the drugs which Mr. Guagliardo provided as hydrocodone and codeine.
A Veiled Threat
The complaint against Mr. Guagliardo alleged that he texted Mr. Wong hours before the MCU CEO was first interviewed by Federal investigators on Jan. 18, 2018, and stated, "I'm always loyal to you, but people have to start responding so we can protect ourselves from more than regulators."
At the time nine months ago that Mr. Guagliardo was arrested, FBI Agents also took into custody State Supreme Court Justice Sylvia G. Ash, an MCU board member for eight years who for 17 months served as its chair. She is awaiting trial on charges that she obstructed the probe into Mr. Wong's crimes by lying to investigators and destroying evidence. She has also been accused of improperly receiving tens of thousands of dollars from the MCU to cover personal expenses.
After her arrest, she was suspended with pay from her $210,000-a-year job as the Presiding Judge of Brooklyn Supreme Court's Commercial Division.
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