Union Corruption Report: January 2011

On January 28, 2011, in the Licking County Ohio Court of Common Pleas, an indictment was filed charging Rodney Amspaugh, former President of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1853 (located in Newark, Ohio), with one count of theft in the amount of $2,227.39. The charge follows an investigation by the OLMS Cleveland District Office.

On January 28, 2011, in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia, Elizabeth George, the former Recording Secretary and Disaster Relief Benefits Committee Member of Steelworkers Local 9336 (located in Radford, Va.), was sentenced to time served in prison of five months and four days and three years probation. She was also ordered to pay $4,275.56 in restitution and a $125 court assessment. The sentencing follows a joint investigation by the OLMS Pittsburgh District Office and the Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General.

On January 27, 2011, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Andrew Blackmon, former President of Steelworkers Local 842 (located in Detroit, Mich.), was sentenced to two years of probation and was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $2,055.78 and a $25 special assessment. Blackmon previously made restitution in the amount of $510. On July 20, 2010, Blackmon pled guilty to one count of falsifying union records. The sentencing follows an investigation by the OLMS Detroit District Office.

On January 27, 2011, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, Southern Division, Max Messamore, former President of National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) Branch 2039 (located in Somerset, Ky.), was charged with embezzling union funds totaling $2,293.77. The charge follows an investigation by the OLMS Cincinnati District Office.

On January 25, 2011, in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware, James Q. Hunter, former Treasurer of United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 1542 (located in Newark, Del.), was charged in a one-count information with making a false entry in union records, in violation of 29 U.S.C. Section 439(c). The charge follows an investigation by the OLMS Philadelphia District Office.

On January 21, 2011, in the United States District Court of the Northern District of Illinois, an information was filed charging Sylvester Knight, former Treasurer of Steelworkers Local 2154 (located in Chicago, Ill.), with making false entries in the union’s financial records in violation of 29 U.S.C. 439(c).  The charge follows an investigation by the OLMS Chicago District Office.

On January 20, 2011, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, Patsy Fontenot, former International Representative for United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 790C (located in Lena, Miss.), pled guilty to a one-count indictment for embezzling union funds between November 2002 and March 2006 in the amount of $6,943.15. Sentencing is scheduled for April 8, 2011. The plea follows an investigation by the OLMS New Orleans District Office.

On January 20, 2011, in the United States District Court, Northern District of Ohio, Rob Rybak, former Business Manager for Plumbers Local 55 (located in Cleveland, Ohio), was sentenced to 27 months incarceration followed by two years supervised release.  He was also ordered to complete 100 hours of community service and pay a $500 special assessment.  On October 26, 2010, Rybak pled guilty to embezzlement from a labor union, embezzlement from an employee benefit fund, conspiracy to obstruct justice, Hobbs Act conspiracy, and tampering with a witness.  The sentencing follows a joint investigation by the OLMS Cleveland District Office, FBI, and the Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General.

On January 14, 2011, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma, Donna Cooper, former Business Manager for Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA) Local 888 (located in Tahlequah, Okla.), was sentenced to five months incarceration followed by 36 months of supervised release, with the first five months as home detention.  Cooper was ordered to pay over $59,000 in restitution.  On July 15, 2010, Cooper pled guilty to embezzling union funds in the amount of $69,322.  The sentencing follows an investigation by the OLMS Dallas District Office.

On January 13, 2011, in the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan, an information was filed charging April Franklin, former office secretary of Plumbers Local 333 (located in Lansing, Mich.) and former bookkeeper for Local 333′s Joint Apprenticeship Training Fund, with one count of embezzlement of union funds in the amount of $40,886 and one count of theft from an employee benefit plan totaling $234,331.33.  The charges follow an investigation by the OLMS Detroit District Office, the Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General, and the Employee Benefits Security Administration.

On January 12, 2011, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, Jesse Daniels, former Financial Secretary of Steelworkers Local 7-1011S (located in East Chicago, Ind.), was indicted on one count of embezzlement of union funds totaling $19,500.   The indictment follows a joint investigation by the OLMS Chicago District Office and the Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General.

On January 11, 2011, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, James Drury, former Secretary-Treasurer of Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 3121 (located in Hialeah, Fla.), pled guilty to a one-charge information for embezzling union funds between December 2005 and March 2009 in the amount of $306,757.53.  Sentencing is scheduled for March 25, 2011.  The plea follows a joint investigation by the OLMS Miami Resident Office (Atlanta District Office) and the Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General.

On January 6, 2011, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, an information was filed against Heather Hill, former office secretary of Iron Workers Local 321 (located in Little Rock, Ark.), charging her with embezzling and willfully converting employee welfare benefit plan funds to her own use, in violation of  18 U.S.C. 664.  Hill pled guilty to a loss of $59,653.12.  The information and plea follow an investigation by the OLMS Dallas District Office and the Employee Benefits Security Administration.

On January 6, 2011, in the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Garold Lawson, Sr., former President of National Association of Government Employees (NAGE) Local 14-139 (located in Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.), was charged with one count of embezzlement of union funds in an aggregate amount of more than $50,000, in violation of 29 U.S.C. 501(c).  Lawson pled guilty to the charge. The charge and plea follow an investigation by the OLMS St. Louis District Office.

On January 5, 2011, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, Wayne Mitchell, former President of Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 14170 (located in New York, N.Y.), the union representing mail room employees in the New York newspaper industry, was sentenced to two years in federal prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release for violation of 29 U.S.C. 501(c).  Mitchell was also ordered to pay restitution of $373,555.  The sentencing brings to a conclusion an investigation in which the trustee, Larry DeAngelis, who was appointed to manage the union’s financial affairs in the aftermath of this embezzlement, was also convicted in a scheme to fraudulently obtain reimbursement for expenses that he, in fact, did not incur.  The sentencing follows an investigation by the OLMS New York District Office.

On January 4, 2011, in the United States District Court of South Carolina, Fleisha Jackson, former Treasurer of American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Local 1909 (located on Ft. Jackson, S.C.), was indicted for embezzling funds within a special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States in the amount of $18,794.73.  The indictment follows an investigation by the OLMS Atlanta District Office.

On January 4, 2011, in the United States District Court for the District of Eastern Pennsylvania, Amar Ali, former Treasurer of Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes (BMWE) Sub-Lodge 695 (located in Baltimore, Md.), pled guilty to a one count information for failure to maintain union records, in violation of 29 U.S.C. Section 439(a)(b).  The plea follows an investigation by the OLMS Philadelphia District Office.

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Criminal Enforcement Actions 2011

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.

Source: United States Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS)

 

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