After a tumultuous exit from his role as the president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association in New York City, Ed Mullins has been charged for allegedly stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from his own union—and spending the cash on his lavish lifestyle.

The 60-year-old firebrand union boss was arrested Wednesday and charged with one count of wire fraud in connection to the years-long scheme. In court documents unsealed Wednesday, Manhattan federal prosecutors alleged that Mullins used his credit card to pay for his personal expenses, and then submitted false and inflated expense reports to the SBA for reimbursement. The spendy items that Mullins falsely claimed were legitimate SBA expenses included meals at high-end restaurants, clothing, jewelry, home appliances, and even a relative’s college tuition.

“As public servants, members of the SBA pay dues to a union that’s supposed to represent their best interests. As SBA president, Mullins allegedly went above and beyond to best serve his own interests,” FBI New York Assistant Director-in-Charge Michael J. Driscoll said in a Wednesday press release.

The charges come just months after Mullins resigned from the position he held for nearly two decades amid a federal investigation that included raids on both his home and the union’s Manhattan headquarters. The raid stemmed from a criminal probe by the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. Separately, Mullins was also found guilty in two internal NYPD disciplinary proceedings concerning his incendiary tweets.

But federal prosecutors alleged in court documents that Mullins’ fraud scheme began years earlier. In 2017, Mullins allegedly started paying for his personal expenses with SBA dollars, which come from membership fees paid by the approximately 13,000 law enforcement officers that make up the fifth-largest police union in the United States.

To be an active member, all officers are required to pay dues totaling approximately $1,300 annually. Retired members are also required to make a one-time payment of $600.

While prosecutors note that the SBA had policies in place to keep track of the union’s money, leadership changes at the union in 2017 allowed Mullins misdeeds to slip through the cracks. Prosecutors state that Mullins would submit his expenses via email and rarely included receipts—which was against policy. Once Mullins’ expenses were approved, the former union boss would deposit the SBA check—or have a colleague run to the bank to do it—before eventually paying off his personal credit card with the new funds, prosecutors said.

Court documents suggest that as time went on, Mullins grew more bold in how much he would expense to SBA. In 2017, Mullins received $69,655 in reimbursement. By 2019, that number ballooned to $344,909. Even during the pandemic in 2020, Mullins allegedly received about $174,112 from the union and another $153,836 the year after.

“To effectuate this corrupt scheme, Edward D. Mullins…made at least three types of misstatements on his expense reports,” prosecutors detailed in court documents.

Those three included: putting meals on his expense reports that were not SBA-related; inflating the costs of the meals; and taking personal expenses like grocery bills and claiming them on his expense reports as meals.

In November 2019, Mullins submitted an expense report for more than $3,000 at a Greenwich Village eatery, identified in court papers as Restaurant-1. In reality, prosecutors allege, Mullins was paying for family members and friends.

“Specifically…Mullins…purchased two $300 gift cards for Restaurant-1 and then sought reimbursement from the SBA for the gift cards,” prosecutors allege. “Two weeks later, Mullins texted the Employee to inform the Employee that a relative (“Relative-1”) and Relative-1’s partner ‘are coming in for dinner tonight’ and ‘I gave [Relative-1] a gift card that I grabbed 2 weeks ago.’”

Prosecutors state that Mullins sent another similar text message to the restaurant employee the next night on behalf of a personal associate.

In addition to submitting personal expenses for reimbursement, Mullins inflated his bills in order to steal more money from the SBA, the court documents say.

Investigators found that he kept two copies of his credit card statements: the first was labeled with a sticky note “Clean Copy” to indicate it was the original statement, while the second had a sticky note indicating it was the “Work Copy” or “Work Sheet,” prosecutors said. The second copy of his statements were riddled with handwritten annotations and markings throughout where Mullins had changed the amount of his expenses, or the type of expense itself to make it eligible for reimbursement.

For example, in April 2021, Mullins allegedly changed a $45.92 bill at a New Jersey wine bar to an $845.92 charge and a $185.88 bill at a Long Island supermarket to a $685.88 charge at an Italian restaurant in Manhattan. He then submitted the inflated expenses, without receipts, for approval, prosecutors said.

All told, Mullins sought “approximately $1 million dollars in reimbursements from the SBA,” according to the court documents.

“Ed Mullins allegedly violated the ethics and rules of this department, the trust of 13,000 Sergeants, active and retired whom he represented, and the laws of the United States,” NYPD Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell said in a statement. “The NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau, has detectives assigned to the FBI’s Public Corruption Unit and works as a team with agents on matters involving the NYPD.”

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