It’s a recurring story in the world of law enforcement: A police officer, sworn to uphold the law, uses his union office to break it. New York City has provided one of the latest examples. On May 3, Victor Davila, former president of the Hunts Point Police Benevolent Association, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York with embezzling more than $35,000 from the union by making unauthorized debit card purchases and cash withdrawals. He also was arrested that day. The case follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
The Hunts Point Police Benevolent Association (HPPBA), an affiliate of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, represents law enforcement officers who patrol the Hunts Point area of the Bronx, New York City. During roughly March 2011-March 2014, Victor Davila, 50, a resident of the Bronx, headed the union. And according to federal prosecutors, he also stole more than $35,000 from its coffers. Beginning around July 2011, only months after becoming HPPBA president, Davila allegedly diverted union funds to his own purposes via a union debit card and ATM cash withdrawals. The funds went for wholesale club purchases, restaurant meals and plane tickets. Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said following the arrest: “Victor Davila allegedly embezzled thousands of dollars from the union he was entrusted to serve as its president. Instead of serving his fellow police officers, he allegedly stole from them, using union funds to pay for his own travel to Puerto Rico, meals and other personal expenses.”