Jewish philanthropist charged with bribing NYC union leader

Julie Wiener

After being arrested on federal corruption charges, Murray Huberfeld, the founder of a New York-based hedge fund Platinum Partners LP, leaving United States District Court for the Southern District of New York in New York City, June 8, 2016. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

After being arrested on federal corruption charges, Murray Huberfeld, the founder of a New York-based hedge fund Platinum Partners LP, leaving United States District Court for the Southern District of New York in New York City, June 8, 2016. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (JTA) — A major Jewish philanthropist was arrested and charged with paying kickbacks to the president of New York City’s corrections officers’ union.

Federal agents arrested 55-year-old Murray Huberfeld, an Orthodox financier who has donated millions of dollars to Orthodox Jewish charities, in Manhattan Wednesday morning.

Huberfeld was charged with fraud for an alleged kickback he paid to labor union president Norman Seabrook, who was also arrested and charged.

According to U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, Huberfeld in 2014 paid Seabrook $60,000 in cash in exchange for Seabrook investing $20 million from his union’s pension fund in Huberfeld’s hedge fund, Centurion Credit Management.

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“As alleged, Norman Seabrook and Murray Huberfeld engaged in a straightforward and explicit bribery scheme,” Bharara said in a news release issued by his office Wednesday. “For a Ferragamo bag stuffed with $60,000 in cash, Seabrook allegedly sold himself and his duty to safeguard the retirement funds of his fellow correction officers.

Huberfeld — who has homes in Manhattan and Long Island — is through his family foundation a major donor to Chabad synagogues around the world and to haredi Orthodox yeshivas and other organizations in the New York area and Israel. He also, according to the Forward, serves on the board of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a California-based group that opposes anti-Semitism.

Huberfeld was convicted of fraud in 1993 for having someone else take a broker license exam while posing as him and settled a civil complaint brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission in 1998, the Forward reported.

Huberfeld’s private foundation gives over a million dollars a year to Jewish organizations, including $1.476 million in 2014, according to tax forms.

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