Trial begins of Brooklyn judge accused of ‘cover-up' of corruption at MCU credit union

A Brooklyn judge who received tens of thousands of dollars worth of pricey perks in her role as the chair of a major credit union tried to stymy a federal investigation into the troubled not-for-profit, lying to agents to cover up for a criminal pal, prosecutors said Tuesday.

Brooklyn Supreme Court Judge Sylvia Ash found herself not on the judge’s bench Tuesday, but instead as the defendant on trial in Manhattan Federal Court.

“This case is about a cover up,” prosecutor Alona Katz said during opening arguments to the jury. “It’s about how she lied to a federal agent. How she knowingly signed a false document.”

The justice was indicted in 2019 on charges of obstruction of justice for allegedly deleting text messages and other evidence after learning that federal agents were investigating corruption at the state’s largest credit union, MCU.

Ash is accused of helping MCU CEO Kam Wong evade a federal investigation into his embezzlement of $10 million from the credit union. Wong is serving 5 1/2 years in prison for the scheme. Ash served as the chair of the MCU board of directors.

When the feds began questioning Ash in January 2018 about Wang’s dirty dealings at the credit union, they charge the judge lied and wiped an iPhone of texts and emails.

Wang was convicted of stealing from the MCU between 2007 and 2018. Ash, meanwhile, was allegedly treated to luxury trips and other goodies in 2015 and 2016.

MCU covered her airfare, hotels, food and entertainment. She enjoyed a $3,800 trip to Las Vegas in October 2016 for a Britney Spears concert at Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino, as well as a party in the MCU suite at the Brooklyn Cyclones baseball stadium in Coney Island — all on MCU’s dime, prosecutors say.

The bash at the ballpark included food, alcohol and a personalized cake.

All the while, Ash never reported the gifts she received from MCU on her judicial forms as required, prosecutors say.

Ash’s lawyers told the jury she was duped by Wong and had no idea he was stealing money from MCU. Ash was “another victim of Wong’s manipulation and lies,” lawyer Carrie Cohen said.

“No lies. No cover up. No crime,” Cohen repeated.

MCU, the oldest credit union in the state, handles banking services to nearly 600,000 people.

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