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Tue May 28, 2019, 03:11 PM

CEO who plundered massive city credit union pleads for mercy

Source: Crain's New York Business

Federal prosecutors want former Municipal Credit Union Chief Executive Kam Wong to serve up to a decade in prisonóroughly a year for every million dollars he admitted to stealing from his institution.

"It is difficult to overstate the damage that the defendant causedódamage so severe that the credit union was recently placed into receivership," the prosecutors wrote in a May 20 sentencing memo.

State regulators seized Municipal Credit Union, the city's largest credit union, on May 17 and handed control to the National Credit Union Administration. The plundered institution has some 588,000 members, many of them public-sector employees.

Wong's attorneys seek leniency for their 63-year-old client. They describe the fallen executive as "a walking testament to human frailty and the dangers of unchecked addiction" in their own memo to U.S. District Judge John Koeltl, who is to sentence Wong June 4. They attributed his crimes to a gambling addiction.

Read more: https://www.crainsnewyork.com/markets/ceo-who-plundered-massive-city-credit-union-pleads-mercy?utm_source=daily-alert-tuesday&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20190528&utm_content=article1-headline

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Reply CEO who plundered massive city credit union pleads for mercy (Original post)
brooklynite May 2019 OP
CDerekGo May 2019 #1
Arkansas Granny May 2019 #4
guillaumeb May 2019 #2
Sherman A1 May 2019 #3
BumRushDaShow May 2019 #5
SWBTATTReg May 2019 #6
pimpbot May 2019 #7
SWBTATTReg May 2019 #8
Mr.Bill May 2019 #12
SWBTATTReg May 2019 #13
Demovictory9 May 2019 #23
PoindexterOglethorpe May 2019 #15
rurallib May 2019 #9
AllaN01Bear May 2019 #10
Initech May 2019 #11
The Mouth May 2019 #14
Jedi Guy May 2019 #16
The Mouth May 2019 #25
Jedi Guy May 2019 #28
WhiteTara May 2019 #17
cstanleytech May 2019 #18
Massacure May 2019 #21
NCjack May 2019 #19
gay texan May 2019 #20
marble falls May 2019 #22
Historic NY May 2019 #24
Sanity Claws May 2019 #26
LonePirate May 2019 #27

Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Tue May 28, 2019, 03:15 PM

1. So sick of this

If this individual gets off for less than 10 years, we all know what's wrong with our Judicial System. How many POC are in Jail/Prisons for how many years for possession of 1g or less of Marijuana. But yet, here's someone, that was put into a position, a position of trust, who STOLE MILLIONS, and now wants leniency? "F" that! Knew what they were doing, with each and every bet placed!

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Response to CDerekGo (Reply #1)

Tue May 28, 2019, 03:22 PM

4. Exactly. I wonder what kind of sentence you or I would get for the same offence.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Tue May 28, 2019, 03:18 PM

2. Translation: Wong was a rich businessman. Prison is for poor people. eom

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Tue May 28, 2019, 03:20 PM

3. I would put him into a minimum wage job and

garnish his entire paycheck for restitution to help him understand some of the damage he has caused.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Tue May 28, 2019, 03:23 PM

5. The unfortunate thing here too is that this was a Credit Union

and not a "bank", so in some cases, being in a Credit Union isn't always the be all end all for parking money when you have corrupt people running them.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Tue May 28, 2019, 03:26 PM

6. Unchecked addiction? First time I have heard of this excuse being used in an attempt to...

justify one's bad behavior. Perhaps the 588,000 CU members should have a say in his sentence?...I know that gambling can be a danger, especially unlimited gambling with the so called promises of great riches should one win. A far fetch, I would say. What gets me is that didn't someone else notice the missing funds earlier before it got to be such a problem? I'd say that that CU needs some shaking up too among its' upper ranks.

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Response to SWBTATTReg (Reply #6)

Tue May 28, 2019, 03:33 PM

7. Local official got 4 years for stealing 6.7M, blamed it on addiction

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Response to pimpbot (Reply #7)

Tue May 28, 2019, 03:36 PM

8. Yes, sadly. A person who steals a pack of cigs probably would get more than 4 years! Sad. ...

Unfortunately I was blocked by Wash Post front end, and couldn't read article, but thank you in advance for article. It is sad that those who steal significant amounts of money get consistently (it seems like it to me) lighter sentences. Take care.

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Response to SWBTATTReg (Reply #8)

Tue May 28, 2019, 03:57 PM

12. And if he sold the cigarettes on the street corner

he may be killed by the police.

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Response to Mr.Bill (Reply #12)

Tue May 28, 2019, 04:15 PM

13. It's scary, isn't it? One of my best friends is black, and his biggest fear is getting pulled ...

over by the police. A true shame, although in STLMO, more and more of the police force is black, and getting better so the % of black officers and white officers and minority officers equals the population mix in St. Louis...the police should represent the public in not just upholding the law, but should represent the public too.

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Response to SWBTATTReg (Reply #8)

Tue May 28, 2019, 11:38 PM

23. more from article

Wong pleaded guilty to embezzlement in November. In their memo to the judge, his attorneys say Wong started buying lottery tickets here and there to help cope with post-9/11 stress, and by the time he became MCU's CEO, he was buying $100 worth of Win4 tickets every day. The financial crisis and Superstorm Sandy worsened his stress, and between 2013 and 2017 he stole $4.5 million from MCU to buy lottery tickets. A crooked member of MCU's supervisory committee helped keep the credit union in the dark, while Wong soothed his conscience by popping hydrocodone pills and sipping from a bottle of codeine-laced syrup at his desk.

Wong's attorneys hope Koeltl will be swayed by the dozens of letters submitted by family members and friends depicting a loving father, husband and friend whose life went awry.

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Response to SWBTATTReg (Reply #6)

Tue May 28, 2019, 04:43 PM

15. Dianna Durban was Republican Secretary of State in New Mexico (2011-2015)

until she was charged with "fraud, embezzlement, money laundering, campaign law violations, tampering with public records, conspiracy, and violating the Governmental Conduct Act." She blamed her lapses for a gambling addiction.

I know I should perhaps be more sympathetic, but if you recognize your gambling is out of control, seek help, don't steal money.

Unfortunately, Durban only had to serve 30 days in jail and got to keep her pension. People are still angry about that here.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Tue May 28, 2019, 03:38 PM

9. Until some of these CEOs, company presidents and corrupt politicians start spending

real time in real jails there will be no message sent out to stop it.
If they steal $10 million there must be hard time in jail to send a message to others. I'd start at 25 years, no parole.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Tue May 28, 2019, 03:42 PM

10. seems i repeat it seems that "most " buissness operators are scoundrells.

not all. i dont have a brush that big to paint with.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Tue May 28, 2019, 03:54 PM

11. The amount of fucks I give for criminals like this:





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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Tue May 28, 2019, 04:27 PM

14. All such crimes should be; you get out when you've paid up

if you can't do the time, don't do the crime.

Steal more than you can ever repay and rot for the rest of your life.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Tue May 28, 2019, 04:47 PM

16. Speaking as someone who dealt with being addicted to a substance...

Addiction is not a get-out-of-jail-free card, literal or figurative. The harm you caused when you were in active addiction still happened, and its repercussions still affect people, some even up to the present day. Just because you're "clean" doesn't mean that the people you stole from or otherwise harmed are reimbursed or given redress. They're still broke... or heartbroken.

Part of proving that you're willing to change and not be that person anymore is to right as many of your wrongs as you can. Using addiction as an excuse tells me that he hasn't changed a bit, and simply doesn't want to deal with what he did. If he changed his plea to guilty, accepted whatever sentence the judge/jury felt was fair, and then went willingly to prison, I'd be willing to believe he's interested in being a reformed addict.

As it stands, I think he's just a greedy fuck who stole from people who trusted him, and is using addiction as a shield in an attempt to avoid punishment. Unless and until he accepts some punishment to prove that he's willing to do the hard work of reinventing himself, I hope he goes to jail for as long as the law allows.

TL;DR: People should not use the pain and hard work of real addicts to attempt to escape punishment.

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Response to Jedi Guy (Reply #16)

Wed May 29, 2019, 02:56 PM

25. Correct me if I'm wrong

But isn't making reperations and amends to anyone you've hurt part of the 12 step process?

why should anyone expect to be considered 'cured', or 'clean' or whatever until they've paid back everythign stolen, fixed everything broken and fully made amends to the satisfaction of those they've hurt. Any lazy-ass can say 'I'm sorry, forgive me, I'm OK now', what has a person DONE to PROVE it? Having been abused and ripped of by addicts several times, I don't give a damn what someone says, be they CEO or homeless- what did you do to make right what you screwed up? Words mean nothing, only actions.

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Response to The Mouth (Reply #25)

Wed May 29, 2019, 05:42 PM

28. It is indeed.

Step 8 is making a list of those whom one has harmed. Step 9 is to make amends to those people, unless doing so would hurt someone.

The thing about addiction is that when you look back on what you did when you were in active addiction, the guilt and shame are crushing. Crushing. The last person to forgive me for the things I did was myself. I struggled with a lot of guilt and a lot of self-loathing for a long time when I got clean.

Anyone can say "I'm sorry." It costs precisely nothing to do so. Being willing to accept the consequences of what you did is where the rubber meets the road. If the person(s) you wronged opt to forgive you without punishment, that is a decision only they can make. But if they do demand punishment, the only true measure of remorse is to submit gracefully and accept that punishment. Anything else is shirking your responsibility.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Tue May 28, 2019, 04:48 PM

17. womp womp you thief

You deserve more than 10 years.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Tue May 28, 2019, 04:53 PM

18. Frankly I think the prosecutors are being overly generous in only asking for 10 years.

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Response to cstanleytech (Reply #18)

Tue May 28, 2019, 10:16 PM

21. The federal government has pretty complicated sentencing guidelines

An offense is categorized on a scale of 1-43 and at each rung there are 6 ranges of punishment depending on how many criminal history points a person has.

For example, embezzlement starts at an offense level of 6; the fact that Kam Wong embezzled more than $9.5 million adds 20 to it, the fact that he "substantially jeopardized the safety and soundness of a financial institution" adds 4 points, the fact that there were more than 10 victims add. At a minimum he is looking at an offense level of 30, which is 97-121 months in prison.

It could be argued that there were more than 10 victims or that he caused "substantial financial hardship" to more than 25 victims adding another 2-6 points onto the offense level. I'm assuming the prosecutor didn't argue these, because at an offense level of 32, the prison sentence is 121-151 months and the prosecutor only asked for 10 years.

https://www.ussc.gov/guidelines/2018-guidelines-manual

Come to think of it, I think I agree with you now more than when I started righting this post.
This is the DU member formerly known as Massacure.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Tue May 28, 2019, 05:17 PM

19. Looks like none of the stolen money can be recovered. Prison for life or

until the money is repaid by benefactors.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Tue May 28, 2019, 07:42 PM

20. Wasn't he on "Hawaii five -O"?

Oh, wait that was Kam Fong

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Tue May 28, 2019, 10:30 PM

22. Ten years sounds about right and ought to be enough time to work through that addiction.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Wed May 29, 2019, 06:18 AM

24. Screw him....

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Wed May 29, 2019, 03:08 PM

26. This is where I bank

I have no sympathy for him.

Yes, addiction is hard but treatment is available. He had the money to avail himself of treatment. He is not like some poor schmo on the street who is unable to get treatment for his addiction.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Wed May 29, 2019, 03:09 PM

27. Only a 10 year sentence? Sounds far too lenient to me.

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