As the former head of New York's correction officers’ union awaits sentencing for fraud, his son-in-law has set up a GoFundMe campaign seeking donations for his family.
Norman Seabrook, the former president of the New York Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association, was found guilty by a jury on August 15 for accepting kickbacks in exchange for investing COBA funds with hedge fund Platinum Partners. The next day, son-in-law Mike Peluso created a GoFundMe webpage with the stated goal of raising $100,000 for his Seabrook's family.
“Please let’s stand together, not as a union but as a family and support in this time of need,” Peluso wrote on the GoFundMe webpage. “All funds raised will be used for the hardship to his family and the funds will be distributed in the form of a certified bank check.”
Peluso’s crowdfunding campaign had raised $10,035 from 59 donors, according to the webpage on Tuesday afternoon. Peluso did not respond to a request for comment that was sent through the GoFundMe website.
The U.S. government charged Seabrook with honest services fraud in 2016. According to its complaint filed that year with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Seabrook met with Platinum Partners about making investments in the hedge fund while making clear that he would need to be paid a bribe for directing COBA's capital to Platinum.
COBA became one of Platinum’s largest institutional investors between 2013 and August 2014, the U.S. government alleged in the complaint.
Seabrook, who was president of COBA for 21 years, directed the union to invest $20 million in Platinum in 2014, according to the document. In return, Seabrook received $60,000 in cash that was delivered to him in a Salvatore Ferragamo bag purchased at a luxury store in Manhattan, the government alleged in the complaint.
Seabrook was tried in November 2017, but a jury took six days to deliberate before determining that it was unable to reach a unanimous verdict. A second trial began in early August and the new jury determined that Seabrook was guilty, the court docket shows.
[II Deep Dive: Seabrook Faces Retrial in Hedge Fund Bribery Case]
Seabrook is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein on November 30, according to the docket.
Seabrook’s lead attorney, Paul Lewis Shechtman of Bracewell, did not return a phone call seeking comment. The lead attorneys representing the U.S. government in the case — Kan Min Nawaday, Martin Bell and Russell Capone — did not return phone calls seeking comment.
Peluso is asking supporters to look beyond the charges brought against his father-in-law.
“We can not dismiss what Norman has done throughout these years!” he wrote on the GoFundMe page. “Norman is a man that respects everyone’s needs and wants, he goes the extra mile to help others and now is a time he needs your help.”