Ed Mullins, the former head of the New York Police Department's Sergeants Benevolent Association (SBA), has been charged with defrauding his own union of hundreds of thousands of dollars, which he spent on expensive meals, luxury items, and even a relative's college tuition.
Mullins, 60, a controversial figure with a reputation for excusing terrible behavior from the police and publicly lamenting about the decriminalization of marijuana, resigned in October following an FBI raid on the SBA office and Mullins' home. He had been the president of the union for 20 years. At that time, sources told the New York Post that Mullins was being investigated for possibly misappropriating union funds.
On Wednesday, the Department of Justice revealed that was indeed the case. According to the complaint filed by U.S. Attorney Damian Williams with the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York, Mullins for the past five years was allegedly "submitting false and inflated expense reports to the SBA, seeking reimbursement for those bills as legitimate SBA expenditures when in fact they were not." From that, he managed to collect hundreds of thousands of dollars that his union members—including 13,000 fellow officers, both active and retired—had paid in dues.
According to the complaint, the fraud all started when the vice president retired in 2017. The treasurer took responsibility for approving Mullins' expense reports and reportedly didn't bother to scrutinize them or even request receipts from Mullins. When Mullins submitted his reports, he would jack up the amounts charged. Just one example provided in the complaint states that he changed a $45.92 charge from a wine bar to $845.92. The complaint notes that Mullins in 2018 added this treasurer (who is not named in the complaint) to his slate for his reelection.
Mullins faces one federal count of wire fraud, which comes with a maximum 20-year sentence (though he will most likely not receive the maximum sentence if convicted).
Mullins, of course, is entitled to due process and the presumption of innocence until he is convicted. But, ironically, Mullins was a quite public and vocal opponent of this. He once tweeted out an attack on New York City's Civilian Complaint Review Board, calling them a "disgrace." He was offended by a tweet that simply acknowledged that the Fourth Amendment protected Americans from unreasonable searches and seizures and encouraged New Yorkers to file a complaint if this right was violated. Mullins complained on Twitter in 2018 that he might get into trouble if he tried to arrest a guy smoking marijuana at a subway entrance, so he didn't—and he shouldn't have arrested the guy anyway because New York City had long since decriminalized marijuana possession.
According to The New York Times, Mullins surrendered to police Wednesday morning and was released on a $250,000 bond. That seems awfully high for a nonviolent crime. Maybe he would benefit from some federal bail reform? Oh, right. He hates bail reform too.