A New York hedge fund founder who helped bribe the former head of a city correction officers’ union was sentenced Tuesday to seven months in prison Tuesday — nearly a year after his previous sentence in the case was overturned.
Manhattan federal court Judge Lewis Liman called Murray Huberfeld’s crime “serious” and one that warranted a term of imprisonment before handing down the fresh punishment.
“Mr. Huberfeld’s crime was a serious one,” Liman said. “This was not a momentary lapse.”
Huberfeld will also be required to complete a year of supervised release after his prison term.
The disgraced hedgie, who founded the firm Platinum Partners, pleaded guilty in 2018 to passing a $60,000 kickback to co-conspirator Jona Rechnitz, a former donor to Mayor de Blasio.
Rechnitz testified that he delivered the payment to Norman Seabrook, the former head of the Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association, in a Salvatore Ferragamo bag.
In return, Seabrook funneled $20 million of union money into Huberfeld’s money-losing hedge fund. The union cash — $15 million of which was earmarked for correction officers’ retirement plans — was lost by the fund after the investment.
At the sentencing Tuesday, Huberfeld broke down in tears as his defense attorney, Andrew Levander, spoke about both his parents dying in the five years since he was arrested.
Huberfeld apologized for his behavior Tuesday, saying he failed to live by the same “moral code” as his parents — who were both Holocaust survivors.
He said his father had “risen from the ashes of the Holocaust” to raise a successful family in the US.
“Now they’re not even here for me to call and ask for forgiveness,” Huberfeld said, while admitting that he’d disgraced his principles by paying Rechnitz the cash.
Prosecutor Laura Pomerantz encouraged the judge to look at the context of Huberfeld’s crime, which she said was part of a larger bribery scheme — and called the sum paid to Seabrook a “reward” for him betraying his union.
Judge Liman agreed with Pomerantz, saying the crime “did not occur in isolation.”
Huberfeld was initially sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison but had the sentence vacated in August 2020 by the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, in part, because the court found the district judge mistakenly calculated his sentencing guideline range.