Sylvia Ash has been sentenced to 15 months in prison after she helped an ex-CEO with a gambling addiction embezzle around $10 million. The former Brooklyn judge was also issued an $80,000 fine, two years of supervised release, and twenty hours of community service per week while being on supervised release. This comes just days after a racketeering leader was sentenced to 4 years for leading an illegal group that ran illegal gambling venues.
Ash Protected the Former CEO of the Municipal Credit Union
While being a state judge, Ash was also the chair of the board of directors of the Municipal Credit Union (MCU). She used her position at the non-profit organization to obstruct a federal criminal investigation into the misconduct of the company, prosecutors said.
The misconduct in question concerns Kam Wong, an ex-CEO who headed MCU until 2018. Wong stole around $10 million from 2007 until his arrest in 2018 from MCU. He used the money to fuel his gambling addiction.
According to the prosecutors, Wong spent more than $5.5 million on lottery tickets and spent the rest on suppressing opiates. An FBI agent that was tasked with surveilling Wong even stated that he would spend several hours buying lottery tickets during weekends.
Moreover, Wong’s drugs were supplied by Joseph Guagliardo, a former NYPD officer and a member of the supervisory committee of MCU. In exchange for the drugs, Wong gave out hundreds of thousands of dollars to a company in control by Guagliardo.
Wong pleaded guilty in 2019 and is currently serving a 66-month prison sentence.
Ash Received a Federal Grand Jury Subpoena in 2018
After Wong was arrested, Ash received a subpoena that required her to provide documents related to various matters connected to Wong. During a telephonic interview on April 6, 2018, Ash claimed that she does not have any materials for this character.
On June 8, Ash was interviewed for the second time about the subpoena and once again, she stated that she does not have any material. Then, on July 9, 2018, Ash joined the US Attorney’s Office for a voluntary interview. During this interview, she lied on multiple occasions about various activities related to Wong.
In October 2019, Ash was arrested and her phone was seized. Even though she wiped the cellphone, which was given by Wong, investigators were able to retrieve incriminating text messages. Lewis Kaplan, US District Judge, labeled Ash’s crimes as a hit to the heart of the criminal justice system.
As a result, Ash was convicted to 15 months in prison and was issued an $80,000 fine. Additionally, she will be under supervised release for 2 years and will be obliged to complete twenty hours of weekly community service while being on supervised release.