Police/FireThe Putnam Examiner

PV Man Convicted of Misappropriating Union Funds

News Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

We are part of The Trust Project

A Putnam Valley man could face up to 40 years in prison after recently being convicted by a federal jury of conspiracy and wire fraud as part of a scheme to defraud law enforcement union members.

Andrew Brown, 55, founder of a Westchester-based financial services company, was the former Benefits Administrator and insurance broker for the Law Enforcement Employees Benevolent Association (LEEBA) and the LEEBA Funds.

According to Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Brown and Kenneth Wynder, Jr., 59, a former New York State trooper and president of LEEBA, defrauded members by misappropriating money from LEEBA’s Annuity Fund.

“As the jury unanimously found, Kenneth Wynder and Andrew Brown raided a union-sponsored retirement plan for years, placing their personal interest over the union members they were duty bound to look out for,” Williams said. “The jury also found that Wynder then evaded taxes on income he obtained from the union, including as a product of their theft from the union members’ retirement accounts.”

From at least in or about 2012 up to and including 2020, Williams said Wynder and Brown participated in a scheme to steal, embezzle, and misappropriate money from the Annuity Fund and individual members’ retirement accounts. Specifically, Wynder and Brown made hundreds of thousands of dollars of fraudulent transfers from the Annuity Fund to LEEBA’s operating account, which Wynder controlled, and regularly used the funds, once transferred from the Annuity Fund, to enrich himself at union members’ expense, including through unauthorized and excessive checks to himself and cash withdrawals for his own benefit and to pay insurance benefits for which Brown received commissions.

In addition, Wynder caused the union to pay for various personal expenses such as the purchase of a Lexus automobile, travel expenses to Dallas to watch a Dallas Cowboys football game, and a sailing trip, all paid for by the union, and none of which were contemporaneously reported to the Internal Revenue Service as required.

To accomplish this fraudulent scheme, Wynder and Brown, acting in their capacity as the Annuity Fund’s Plan Administrators, repeatedly made false and misleading statements to a third-party retirement plan manager that served as the custodian for the Annuity Fund and the retirement accounts of individual union members, including through emails and faxes that Wynder and Brown used to withdraw increasingly large sums of money from the Annuity Fund, effectively causing such withdrawals to be made from the retirement accounts of individual members.

From in or about 2014 through in or about 2019, Wynder and Brown caused the withdrawal of more than $500,000 from the individual retirement accounts that constitute the Annuity Fund, thereby wiping out the entire balance of certain members’ accounts.  Without these improper withdrawals from the Annuity Fund, the LEEBA operating account would have been insolvent and would have had insufficient funds to pay for Wynder’s excessive checks to himself and cash withdrawals and the personal expenses he caused to be charged to that account, as well as to pay for benefits for which Brown made commissions as an insurance broker.

Wynder, of Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, and Brown were each convicted of one count of conspiracy of commit wire fraud and one count of wire fraud, each of which carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. Wynder was also convicted of one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and four counts of tax evasion, each of which carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

They are scheduled to be sentenced October 18 by U.S. District Judge P. Kevin Castel.





We'd love for you to support our work by joining as a free, partial access subscriber, or by registering as a full access member. Members get full access to all of our content, and receive a variety of bonus perks like free show tickets. Learn more here.