MANHATTAN (CN) – The administrator of a construction union’s pension plan, who was paid $540,000 a year for it, embezzled $42 million from the union’s accounts, federal prosecutors say. Melissa King, owner of King Care LLC, was arrested at her home Tuesday and charged with embezzling from three accounts of the Compressed Air and Free Air Foundations, Tunnels, Caissons, Subways, Cofferdams, Sewer Construction Workers Local 147, AFL-CIO.
Federal agents arrested King at her home in Irvington, N.Y. She allegedly embezzled the money from 2002 to 2008, starting with $1 million in 2002 and working her way up to $11.2 million in 2007.
“Between 2002 and October 2009, tens of millions in embezzled funds were transferred out of the King Care account through check, wire transfers, and other means in transactions that appear unrelated to the Local 147 funds,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement accompanying its legal filing. “These transactions included at least $7 million paid to American Express; $3 million paid to various entities that sell, maintain, and transport horses; $700,000 paid to a diamond company; $500,000 transferred to E-Trade Securities; $300,000 paid to Neiman Marcus; $150,000 paid to the Ritz Carlton Palm Beach; $10 million transferred to other bank accounts held by King Care; and $600,000 transferred to the ‘Trust Agreement between Jerome and Mabel King.'”
King had contracts with Local 147 that paid her up to $15,000 a month to administer each of three funds, “for a total of $45,000 per month for the three Funds, and a total of $540,000 annually,” prosecutors said.
King, 58, faces up to 85 years in prison if convicted of all charges, which include theft and embezzlement and eight counts of money laundering. She was released on $10 million bond.