Two Long Island men were arrested Thursday and now face federal bribery charges stemming from an alleged scheme that involved one accepting free housing and financing in exchange for the other approving millions in favorable bank loans, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.
Alan Kaufman, 60, of Jericho, is the former CEO of the now-closed Melrose Credit Union. Tony Georgiton, 61, of Hewlett, was a Melrose customer who owned several New York businesses, including a music and event space known as the Melrose Ballroom in Long Island City, Queens.
According to an unsealed indictment released Thursday, Kaufman and Georgiton began their illegal partnership in 2010.
Georgiton allegedly bought a home in Jericho in 2010 and let Kaufman live there rent free for two years, court documents state. In return, Kaufman allegedly approved the refinancing of more than $60 million in Melrose Credit Union loans to companies that Georgiton owned, the documents state.
In 2011, Kaufman asked the credit union's governing board if the bank could purchase the naming rights to a ballroom under construction in Queens, court documents state. Kaufman allegedly did not tell Melrose board members that he was living rent-free in a home owned by Georgiton, who also owned the ballroom.
Then, in 2013, Kaufman bought the Jericho home from Georgiton, court documents state. Kaufman allegedly paid for the house through a $200,000 Melrose Credit Union loan that Georgiton co-signed. Court documents also state that Georgiton gave Kaufman a $240,000 personal loan that Kaufman has never attempted to pay back.
"As alleged, Alan Kaufman conspired to take bribes from Tony Georgiton in exchange for favorable refinancing of millions of dollars of Melrose Credit Union loans to Georgiton's companies," U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said. "Now both Kaufman and Georgiton face criminal charges for their alleged self-dealing."
Defense attorneys representing Kaufman and Georgiton did not immediately respond for comment Thursday.
Kaufman and Georgiton each have been charged with conspiracy to commit bribery and bribery of a financial institution officer. Kaufman is also charged with a second bribery of a financial institution officer count stemming from his alleged acceptance of vacation trips to France and Hawaii from a New York-based media company.
The U.S. Attorney's Office has not released the name of the New York media company, but said the company paid for Kaufman and his girlfriend to fly to Paris in 2010. The company also paid for Kaufman and his girlfriend to fly to Maui and New Orleans, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.