Union Corruption Corner, October 2010

The following is from the Department of Labor’s Office of Labor Management Standards.

[See footnotes at bottom]

On October 28, 2010, in the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan, Robbin R. Wolff, former Bookkeeper of Auto Workers Local 383 (located in Benton Harbor, MI), was sentenced to 24 months of imprisonment for embezzling union funds and 12 months of imprisonment for falsifying union records; the time is to be served concurrently.  Upon release from imprisonment, Wolff will be on supervised release for a period of two years for the former offense and one year for the latter offense; the time is to be served concurrently.  Wolff was ordered to pay restitution of $200,397.69 and a special assessment of $125.  The sentencing follows an investigation by the OLMS Detroit District Office.

On October 28, 2010, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, Curtis Iwatsubo, former Secretary-Treasurer of Glass, Molders, Pottery, Plastics & Allied Workers (GMP) Local 52, was sentenced to 10 months in prison for embezzling union funds of more than $47,000.  He was ordered to pay restitution of $38,434 and a $100 special assessment.  On May 26, 2010, Iwatsubo pled guilty to one count of embezzlement of union funds.  The sentencing follows an investigation by the OLMS San Francisco District Office.

On October 26, 2010, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, William Dugan, former President and Business Manager of Operating Engineers Local 150 (located in Countryside, IL), was sentenced to three years probation and ordered to pay a fine of $30,000, an assessment of $25, and the cost of probation on a monthly basis.  Special conditions of supervision also require Dugan to file appropriate Form LM-30 reports.  On March 22, 2010, Dugan pled guilty to one count of receiving a thing of value from a signatory employer.  The sentencing follows a joint investigation by the OLMS Chicago District Office, FBI, and DOL OIG.

On October 26, 2010, in the United States District Court, Northern District of Ohio, Robert Rybak, former Business Manager for Plumbers Local 55 (located in Cleveland, OH), pled guilty to multiple charges including embezzlement in the amount of $12,321.03, conspiracy to obstruct justice, and Hobbs Act violations.  Rybak was previously indicted on multiple counts on September 14, 2010.  The guilty plea follows a joint investigation by the OLMS Cleveland District Office, DOL OIG, and FBI.

On October 26, 2010, in the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois, Kevin Hunt, former Secretary Treasurer of the United Transportation Union (UTU) Local 198 (located in Peoria, IL), pled guilty to a one count information charging him with filing a false Form LM-3 annual financial report for fiscal year 2007.  The plea follows an investigation by the OLMS Chicago District Office.

On October 25, 2010, in the United States District Court, Newark, NJ, Patrick Brennan, former Business Manager of Painters District Council 711 (located in Egg Harbor Township, NJ), was sentenced to six months incarceration and six months home confinement, and he was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $32,487.26.  Brennan had previously pled guilty to embezzling $32,487.26 of funds from Painters District Council 711, in violation of 29 U.S.C. 501(c).  The sentencing follows an investigation by the OLMS Newark Resident Investigator Office.

On October 25, 2010, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Oscar Gatewood, former President of Steelworkers Local 842 (located in Detroit, MI), pled guilty to one count of concealing union records.  Sentencing is scheduled for January 31, 2011.  The plea follows an investigation by the OLMS Detroit District Office.

On October 22, 2010, in the United States District Court of Massachusetts, an indictment of Stennett Bernard, Roody Lespinasse, Andy Alerte, and Manuel Nogueira (former President, Treasurer, Financial Secretary, and Recording Secretary, respectively) of Steelworkers Local 04-421 was unsealed.  The indictment charged Bernard, Lespinasse, Alerte, and Nogueira with violations of Title 18, U.S.C. Code, Section 371 – Conspiracy, Title 29 U.S.C. 501(c) – Embezzlement and Theft of Labor Union Assets, and 18 U.S.C. Section 2 – Aiding and Abetting.  The former officers were charged with embezzling the following approximate amounts through unauthorized checks:  Bernard ($4,320.94), Lespinasse ($712.30), Alerte ($551.72), and Nogueira ($1,384.34).  The indictment also includes a criminal forfeiture allegation, Title 18 U.S.C. Section 981(a)(1)(c) and Title 28 U.S.C. Section 2461(c).  The indictment follows an investigation by the OLMS Boston District Office.

On October 21, 2010, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Larry White, former President of United Electrical Workers Union (UE) Local 1110 (located in Chicago, IL), was sentenced to three years probation, and he was ordered to make restitution of $11,875 and pay a fine of $25.  On March 29, 2010, White pled guilty to one count of making false entries in union records.  The sentencing follows an investigation by the OLMS Chicago District Office.

On October 20, 2010, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Gilbert Woods, former President of Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 84768 (located in Kettering, OH), was sentenced to five years probation and six months house arrest.  He was ordered to pay restitution of $25,465, which included $20,000 to Travelers Insurance and $5,465 to the union.  He was also ordered to pay a special assessment of $25.  On July 21, 2010, Woods pled guilty to one count of making false entries in union records.  The sentencing follows an investigation by the OLMS Cincinnati District Office.

On October 18, 2010, Delores Jennings, former President and acting Secretary-Treasurer of the now defunct Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 81321 (located in Syracuse, NY), was arraigned in Syracuse City Court after a criminal complaint was filed charging her with Grand Larceny in the fourth degree and Falsifying Business Records in the first degree.  The complaint alleges that Jennings took $2,479 from her former union.  The court action came as a result of an investigation by the OLMS Buffalo District Office and the Syracuse City Police Department.

On October 15, 2010, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, Aaron Hunter, former President of Firefighters Local 108-F (located in Fort Leonard Wood, MO), was sentenced to one year probation for the charge of making false statements in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1001 to conceal his embezzlement of union funds.  Hunter paid restitution totaling $30,000 prior to his sentencing.  The sentencing follows an investigation by the OLMS St. Louis District Office.

On October 15, 2010, in Circuit Court for Arlington County, Virginia, Richard James, former President of American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Local 1402 (located in Arlington, VA), was sentenced to two years incarceration (all suspended), two years supervised probation, and 75 hours of community service for embezzling $9,850 from the union in violation of Section 18.2-111 of the Virginia Code.  The sentencing follows an investigation by the OLMS Washington District Office and the Arlington County Police Department.

On October 14, 2010, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Deidra Lucas, former President of American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 100 (located in Pontiac, MI), pled guilty to one count of embezzling union funds in the amount of $5,283.20.  Lucas is scheduled to be sentenced on January 6, 2011.  The plea follows an investigation by the OLMS Detroit District Office.

On October 8, 2010, in the United States District Court for the District of Eastern Pennsylvania, Amar Ali, former Treasurer of Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division (BMWED) Sub-Lodge 695 (located in Baltimore, MD), was charged in a one count information with failure to maintain union records (29 U.S.C. Section 439(a)(b)).  The charge follows an investigation by the OLMS Philadelphia District Office.

On October 6, 2010, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, Craig A. Bohn, former Financial Secretary Treasurer of Security, Police, and Fire Professionals of America (SPFPA) Local 558 (located in Green Bay, WI), was sentenced to one year probation, a $1,500 fine, and a $100 special assessment.  Bohn previously made restitution in the amount of $5,000.  On June 18, 2010, Bohn pled guilty to two counts of creating false union records.  The sentencing follows an investigation by the OLMS Milwaukee District Office.

On October 6, 2010, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, Lance Hinerman, former President of American Postal Workers Union (APWU) Local 189 (located in Little Rock, AR), was sentenced to two years probation and a $200 assessment.  On July 6, 2010, Hinerman pled guilty to wire fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1343, a Class C Felony.  The sentencing follows an investigation by the OLMS Dallas District Office and the United States Postal Service – Office of Inspector General.

On October 5, 2010, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, an information was filed charging Nickolas Weihert, former Financial Secretary of Steelworkers Local 4845 (located in Waukesha, WI), with three counts of embezzlement totaling $450.00.  The information states that the three counts were fraudulent transactions related to an embezzlement of $17,256.  The charge follows an investigation by the OLMS Milwaukee District Office.

On October 5, 2010, Joseph Kerwan, Business Manager/Financial Secretary-Treasurer of Sheet Metal Workers Local Union 112 (located in Elmira, NY), was sentenced to 12 months of probation and ordered to pay a $2,000 fine in the Western District of New York.  On May 20, 2010, Kerwan pled guilty to falsification of union records. As part of the plea and sentencing, Kerwan made full restitution to his local union totaling $6,927.55.  The court action came as a result of an investigation by the Buffalo District Office.

On October 5, 2010, in the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, Donald Kotouch, the former President and Business Agent of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1738 (located in Latrobe, PA), was charged in a two count indictment for embezzling $18,806.27 in union funds and falsifying union records.  The indictment follows an investigation by the Pittsburgh District Office.

On October 4, 2010, in the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, Thomas Carrola, the former Secretary-Treasurer of IBEW Local 1919 (located in Pittsburgh, PA), was sentenced to two years probation for each of the two counts (to run concurrently) and six months home detention, and ordered to pay restitution of $35,057 and a $100 count assessment.  Carrola pled guilty on June 1, 2010 to one count of embezzling union funds in the amount of $35,057 and to falsifying union records.  Full restitution has been made to the union.  The sentencing follows an investigation by the Pittsburgh District Office.

Footnotes:

An indictment is a formal accusation or charge based on a finding by a Grand Jury that it is likely that the person charged committed the criminal offense described in the indictment and is the means by which an accused person (defendant) is brought to trial. An indictment raises no inference of guilt. As in all criminal cases, each defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

An information is a formal accusation of a crime by a government attorney rather than a Grand Jury.  An information raises no inference of guilt. As in all criminal cases, each defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

charge is an accusation of criminal activity and raises no inference of guilt. As in all criminal cases, each defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Each count is a separate and distinct offense charged in an indictment or information.

guilty plea is a defendant’s admission to the court that he or she committed the offense charged and an agreement to waive the right to a trial.

conviction is a judgment based on a jury’s verdict, judge’s finding, or the defendant’s admission that the defendant is guilty of the crime charged.

sentence is a judicial determination of the punishment to be imposed on an individual who has plead guilty or has been convicted by a jury or judge of a criminal offense.

 

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