Union Corruption Report: May 2012

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On May 31, 2012, in the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island, Kenneth Aurecchia, former Vice President of Plumbers International and former business manager for Plumbers Local 51 (located in East Providence, R.I.), was sentenced to six months of home confinement (including electronic monitoring), three years of probation, 150 hours of community service, and was ordered to pay a fine of $40,000.  Aurecchia paid restitution totaling $107,515 prior to sentencing.  The sentencing follows an investigation by the OLMS Boston District Office, the Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General, the Employee Benefits Security Administration, and the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigations Division.

On May 31, 2012, in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, Stennett Bernard, former President of Steelworkers Local 421-04 (located in Brockton, Mass.), pled guilty to one count of conspiracy, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 371, and one count of embezzling union funds, in violation of 29 U.S.C. 501(c).  The plea follows an investigation by the OLMS Boston District Office.

On May 31, 2012, in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, Stephen Arena, former President of Novelty Workers Local 148 (located in Jersey City, N.J.), pled guilty to a one-count indictment charging him with embezzlement in the amount of $193,000, in violation of 29 U.S.C. 501(c).  The plea follows an investigation by the OLMS New York District Office.

On May 30, 2012, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, William Adrian, former business manager for Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 101 (located in Belleville, Ill.), pled guilty to a two-count information charging him with embezzling union funds, in violation of 29 U.S.C. 501(c), and theft from an employee pension or welfare plan, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 664.  The plea follows an investigation by the OLMS St. Louis District Office, the Employee Benefits Security Administration, and the Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General.

On May 30, 2012, in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Libby Stegner, former administrative assistant for International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1319 (located in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.), pled guilty to one count of embezzling union funds in the amount of $41,321.25.  Stegner was charged on May 16, 2012.  The plea follows an investigation by the OLMS Philadelphia District Office.

On May 29, 2012, in the Circuit Court for Fauquier County, Virginia, Daniel Kramer, former Secretary-Treasurer of Fire Fighters Local 45 (located in Newport News, Va.), was charged in an indictment with one count of grand larceny, in violation of Virginia Code Section 18.2-95.  The charge follows an investigation by the OLMS Washington District Office.

On May 23, 2012, in the Adams County Wisconsin Circuit Court, Randy G. Paulson, former Secretary-Treasurer of Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division (BMWED) of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Sub-Lodge 1125 (located in Adams, Wis.), was charged with one count of misdemeanor theft in an amount less than $2,500, in violation of Wisconsin Statute 943.20(1)(b)&3(a).  The charge follows an investigation by the OLMS Milwaukee District Office.

On May 22, 2012, in the United States District Court for the District of Alaska, Carole Reeves, former office manager for Sheet Metal Workers (SMW) Local 23 (located in Anchorage, Alaska), was sentenced to three years of probation and was fined $6,000 after pleading guilty to a single count of 29 U.S.C. 501(c) for knowingly and willfully embezzling labor union funds.  The sentencing follows an investigation by the OLMS Seattle District Office.

On May 21, 2012, in the Circuit Court for the County of Henrico, Virginia, Timothy Shell, former Secretary-Treasurer of Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) Division 561 (located in Richmond, Va.), was charged in an indictment with one count of embezzlement of $200 or more, in violation of Virginia Code Section 18.2-111.  The charge follows an investigation by the OLMS Washington District Office.

On May 21, 2012, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, Thomas Coffey, former President of United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 912 (located in Lexington, Ky.), pled guilty to one count of making false entries in unions records between 2005 and 2008, in violation of 29 U.S.C. 439(c).  Coffey was then sentenced to two years of probation and 100 hours of community service.  He was also ordered to make restitution in the amount of $7,358.21 and pay a $25 assessment.  The guilty plea and sentencing follow an investigation by the OLMS Cincinnati District Office.

On May 17, 2012, in the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island, a criminal complaint was filed charging Joseph Palumbo, former President of Firefighters Local 100 (located in Newport, R.I.), with embezzlement and fraudulent conversion in the amount of $1,541.91, in violation of Rhode Island General Laws 11-41-3.  The charge follows an investigation by the OLMS Boston District Office.

On May 16, 2012, in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, an information was filed charging Libby Stegner, former administrative assistant for International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1319 (located in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.), with one count of embezzling union funds totaling more than $41,000, in violation of 29 U.S.C. 501(c). The information alleges that Stegner embezzled $41,861 in union money by failing to deposit funds and stealing cash she received from union members for dues and other items.  The charge follows an investigation by the OLMS Philadelphia District Office.

On May 15, 2012, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Carol Wethington, former Secretary-Treasurer of Plant Protection Local 103 (located in Dearborn, Mich.), was sentenced to one year of probation and was ordered to pay a $25 special assessment.  Wethington previously paid restitution.  On February 2, 2012, Wethington pled guilty to a one-count information charging her with making false entries in union records, in violation of 29 U.S.C. 439(c).  The sentencing follows an investigation by the OLMS Detroit District Office.

On May 14, 2012, in the Pennington County South Dakota District Court, William Bilger, former Secretary-Treasurer of American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Local 3365 (located in Rapid City, S.D.), pled guilty to petty  theft greater than $400 and less than $1,000.  Bilger was subsequently sentenced on the same date to pay restitution in the amount of $2,137 within one year, to obey all laws, and to pay grand jury costs.  The plea and sentencing follow an investigation by the OLMS Milwaukee District Office.

On May 10, 2012, in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, James J. Kearney Jr., former Financial Secretary-Treasurer of Iron Workers Local 45 (located in Jersey City, N.J.), was sentenced to 30 months of incarceration and three years of supervised release.  In addition, Kearney was ordered to make full restitution (the amount to be determined at a later date) and pay a $100 special assessment.  On November 11, 2011, Kearney pled guilty to a one-count information charging him with embezzling union funds in the amount of $561,365.  The sentencing follows an investigation by the OLMS New York District Office.

On May 10, 2012, in the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan (Northern Division), Renita Dompier, former Secretary-Treasurer of Machinists Local Lodge 283 (located in Baraga, Mich.), pled guilty to one count of embezzling union funds in the amount of $8,725.99, in violation of 29 U.S.C. 501(c).  The plea follows an investigation by the OLMS Detroit District Office.

On May 10, 2012, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Jeff Agee, former business representative for Machinists Local Lodge 10 (located in Richmond, Va.), pled guilty to one count of embezzling union funds in the amount of $4,181.62, in violation of 29 U.S.C. 501(c).  The plea follows an investigation by the OLMS Washington District Office.

On May 8, 2012, in the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico, Thomas M. Chavez, former Secretary-Treasurer of United Steelworkers (USW) Local 12-659 (located in Questa, N.M.), was sentenced to three years of probation, 100 hours of community service, and was ordered to pay restitution of $16,965.54 and a $100 special assessment.  On December 2, 2011, Chavez pled guilty to one count of embezzling $16,965.54 in union funds, in violation of 29 U.S.C. 501(c).  The sentencing follows an investigation by the OLMS Denver District Office.

On May 7, 2012, in the St. Louis County District Court of Minnesota, James Michael Hill, former Treasurer of Graphic Communications Conference of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (GCC-IBT) Local 76-C (located in Duluth, Minn.), pled guilty to one count of felony theft by swindle of over $5,000.  The plea follows an investigation by the OLMS Minneapolis Resident Investigator Office.

On May 1, 2012, in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, Andrew Irwin, former business manager for International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 72 (located in Waco, Tex.), was charged in a one-count information with embezzlement of union funds in the amount of $47,096.  The charge follows an investigation by the OLMS Dallas District Office.

On May 1, 2012, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Lisa Barnes, former bookkeeper for Plasterers & Cement Masons (OPCM) Local 514 (located in Madison Heights, Mich.), was charged in a one-count information with falsification of union financial records, in violation of 29 U.S.C. 439(c).  The charge follows an investigation by the OLMS Detroit District Office.

On May 1, 2012, in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Ernest Milewski, former President of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), Northeast District Council (located in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.), was sentenced to 18 months in prison and three years of supervised release.  He was also ordered to pay $257,590.26 restitution and a $200 special assessment.  Milewski is required to surrender to prison officials on May 21, 2012.  On August 9, 2011, Milewski pled guilty to one count of embezzling union funds, in violation of 29 U.S.C. 501(c), and one count of embezzling assets of a health care benefit program, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 669.  The sentencing follows a joint investigation by the OLMS Philadelphia District Office, Employee Benefits Security Administration, and the Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General.

 

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Criminal Enforcement Actions 2012

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: Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS)

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