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Feds charge Hudson woman in connection with National Basketball Players Association fraud case

By Tim Troglen | reporter Published: May 3, 2013 4:00 AM

A 72-year-old Edgeview Drive woman was in a Manhattan federal court May 2 after being arrested April 25 by FBI agents at her home and charged with one federal count of obstructing justice.

Carolyn Kaufman was expected to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge James L. Cott. The results of the court appearance was not known by press time.

The Manhattan U.S. Attorney's office alleges that Kaufman was one of the principals of Prim Capital Corp. which attempted "to defraud the National Basketball Players Association of $3 million through the use of a fraudulent retention contract."

The player's association is the bargaining unit for the NBA.

Kaufman's attorney, Salvatore A. Zingale, did not return calls for comment.

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The day after her arrest, Kaufman posted a $100,000 bond on the condition that she appear in Manhattan federal court May 2.

The complaint alleges that during a 2012 investigation into "possible criminal activity" involving the NBPA, the fraudulent contract was discovered.

"The scheme allegedly attempted by the subjects of this investigation would have caused the union to lose funds that rightfully belonged to the membership of the NBPA," according to Andriana Vamvakas, Department of Labor New York district director, said. "We will continue to investigate crimes against unions to protect the members' assets."

The complaint alleges Kaufman "testified (to a grand jury) that she had not spoken with anyone regarding her testimony."

However, in a recorded conversation prior to appearing before the grand jury, "(Joseph) Lombardo, the owner of Prim (allegedly) gave her specific instructions on how to answer questions before the grand jury, telling her that his 'life is in (her) hands,'" according to court records.

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Lombardo, 72, of Gates Mills, was arrested April 25 at his home and charged with one count of attempted wire fraud, one count of attempted mail fraud and one count of obstruction of justice.

From 2001 until 2013, Prim was the primary outside investment advisory firm entrusted with the NBPA's investments and finances, according to the Department of Labor. Prim performed various services for the union, including assisting with the management of up to $250 million of the NBPA's assets, reviewing the investments of individual players, and conducting financial seminars for members.

A 2011 contract between Prim and the NBPA was allegedly signed by Lombardo and Gary Hall, former association general counsel, and one other union employee.

However, the Department of Labor alleges the signature of Hall was not authentic, and that the contract "was actually created at Prim months after the March 2011 death of Gary Hall."

The Department of Labor also alleged Lombardo "arranged for the creation of a signature stamp capable of stamping the signature Gary A. Hall, and used the stamp to falsify Hall's signature months after his death. The investigation further allegedly revealed that the signature of the other association employee was forged as well."

Email: ttroglen@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9435

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