New York's Municipal Credit Union CEO blew more than $3.5 million on lottery tickets after swindling institution: Prosecutors

Key Points
  • Kam Wong, chief executive officer and president of New York's Municipal Credit Union, was charged with fraud, embezzlement and aggravated identity theft offenses.
  • Wong allegedly took $6 million from the credit union, spending nearly $3.55 million on lottery tickets.
  • He could face up to 30 years in prison for these offenses.

The CEO of New York state's oldest credit union swindled his institution for years out of millions of dollars and blew a whopping $3.55 million on lottery tickets, federal prosecutors charged Tuesday.

Kam Wong is accused of defrauding New York's Municipal Credit Union out of approximately $6 million with a series of scams that included reimbursements for fake dental work and a previously covered long-term disability insurance policy.

Wong was charged Tuesday in Manhattan federal court with fraud, embezzlement and aggravated identity theft offenses, according to Geoffrey Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Berman said Wong used the cash to, among other things, feed his apparent lottery habit, spending $3.55 million on the New York State lottery between July 2013 and January 2018.

During that same time frame, Wong allegedly received and deposited almost $6 million in hand-written checks from the credit union into his account.

This is what you do if you win the lottery
This is what you do if you win the lottery

From that account, Wong allegedly wrote more than 278 checks, totaling about $3.9 million.

He also is accused of writing checks totaling about $3 million to a convenience store in the Queens, New York, neighborhood of Elmont, and another $272,500 in checks to a convenience store located just a few blocks from his office.

Wong withdrew more than $1.9 million through about 2,592 ATM transactions over that same period, authorities said.

According to a criminal complaint, the convenience store owners said the checks were used to purchase New York State Lottery tickets, and that Wong would sometimes spend hours on weekends purchasing and playing lottery tickets at the Elmont location.

While defrauding and embezzling from the credit union, Wong also allegedly sought money from several sources to purchase lottery tickets.

"As alleged, the CEO and president of New York's oldest credit union abused his position of trust as a guardian of municipal, state, and federal workers' financial accounts to enrich himself," Berman said.

"Kam Wong allegedly stole money from the credit union's earnings that were intended to reward the credit union's members, not line Wong's pockets. I want to thank my Office's Special Agents for their dedicated efforts in this ongoing investigation."

The Municipal Credit Union, a federally insured nonprofit financial institution, is one of the largest credit unions in the country, with 425,000 members.

Its members include municipal, state and federal workers in New York City.

Wong, who was arrested Tuesday morning, was scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge James Cott in Manhattan federal court later the same day.