On April 11, Morris Diminno, a former representative of the Intl. Union of Operating Engineers Local 14, pled guilty to conspiracy to receive, possess and dispose of money obtained by fraud and transported across state lines, unlawful labor payment, engaging in an unlawful monetary transaction, and obstruction of justice. He agreed to forfeit $800,000 to the United States Government within 90 days from various assets. He had been indicted on April 16, 2002 on charges relating to the taking of payoffs to help developers at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s renovation site bill the MTA for no-show workers at inflated rates. The charges had been brought following a joint investigation by the New York branch of the U.S. Ofc. of Labor-Mgmt. Standards (OLMS) and the FBI. [OLMS, 4/30/03]
Ohio Union Boss Held in Contempt
On April 23, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern Dist. of Ohio, James E. Miller, financial secy. of Flint Glass Workers Local 144, was ordered into custody for contempt of court. He has failed to provide documents and testimony in response to a subpoena by the Cleveland branch of the U.S. Ofc. of Labor-Mgmt. Standards as part of their ongoing audit of the Local. Miller also failed to comply with the dist. court’s October 25, 2002; January 22, 2003; and March 17, 2003 orders to comply with the subpoena. Interestingly, there is no financial disclosure form available for that union on the U.S. Dept. of Labor’s web site, which makes all LM forms available electronically. [OLMS, 4/30/03]
Fired Mass. Finance Officer Pleads Not Guilty to Embezzlement
Richard Anzivino pled not guilty in the Suffolk Superior Court on May 5 to embezzling over $800,000 from the Mass. Teachers Assn. But prosecutors with the Mass. Attny. General’s office said that Anzivino admitted to MTA officials in Sept. that he had used his position as finance director to steal $200,000 to pay for gambling excursions at the Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun casinos in Connecticut.
Then in January, when criminal investigators showed him 270 checks he wrote to himself for 7 years totaling $802,000, Anzivino responded: “OK, I originally thought it was over $500,000, but I’m not surprised it’s $800,000.” Clerk Magistrate William Walsh ruled on a preliminary basis that Anzivino is “marginally indigent,” thus qualifying for financial aid in his defense. He earned nearly $100,000 before being fired by the MTA, although he was served with a $6,839 lien from the IRS. [Boston Herald, 5/6/03]
Ex-NJ Treasurer Confesses to Stealing from Widowers & Children
Kevin Schneider pled guilty on April 28 to stealing $180,000 from Local 9 of the Policeman’s Benevolent Assn. in Hackensack. The union’s treasurer, Schneider stole most of the money from a benefit fund to help the families of deceased officers, nearly depleting it. He also took money from the general acct., intended for contract negotiations and funds to build an in-line skating park for city youth.
Local 9 president Phil Carroll discovered the embezzlement during a regular audit in March 2002, finding that Schneider routinely wrote checks to cash and sometimes directly to himself. He was arrested on March 8. Under a plea agreement with Bergen County prosecutors, Schneider faces up to three years in prison. He must also pay full restitution to Local 9, and can never work again for the police or any other governmental body in NJ. He is scheduled to be sentenced on July 18. [The Record (Bergen), 4/29/03]
Frmr. Minneapolis City Councilman Sentenced for Aiding Union Embezzlement
U.S. Dist. Judge Ann Montgomery (D. MN, Clinton) sentenced former Minneapolis city council member Joseph Biernat to 21 months in prison and a $10,000 fine for mail fraud, lying to a federal agent, and aiding the embezzlement of funds from a union. Although Montgomery told Biernat she considered his actions a “detour” in his life, she still refused to exempt from the sentence recommended by federal guidelines for fraud involving a public official. Montgomery chose to sentence Biernat under those guidelines rather than conflict-of-interest.
Biernat was convicted on Nov. 21, 2002, of the charges stemming from his acceptance of $2,700 in free plumbing work at his home arranged by Thomas Martin, an official with Local 15 of the United Assn. of Plumbers & Pipefitters (UA). He soon thereafter voted to appoint Martin to a city board in charge of licensing plumbers. Montgomery agreed with Biernat that he was a minor participant in the scheme, in which Thomas Martin and his brother, Joseph, used their union positions to arrange free plumbing work worth $26,700 at their homes and those of relatives and friends. [Minneapolis Star Tribune, 5/1/03]
Frmr. Ala. Treasurer Pleads Guilty to Theft in Fed. Court
U.S. Attny. Alice H. Martin of the Northern Dist. of Alabaama and Dist. Director Kermit Perkins of the U.S. Ofc. of Labor Management Standards (OLMS), announced that Ana Lorena Phillips entered a guilty plea on April 29, to a criminal indictment filed February 28. Phillips, 32, of Pell City, Alabama, pled guilty in U.S. District Court in Birmingham to one count of embezzling money from a labor union and one count of falsifying union records.
Phillips, while working as treasurer of Local 3974 of the Communication Workers of America, wrote checks from the union local’s checking account to pay her personal expenses. From September 1999 to November 2001, Phillips stole $48,360.00 of the union local’s money. She also created false entries in the union local’s accounting records. Phillips could receive a maximum of six years in prison and a fine of up to $350,000.00. Sentencing is scheduled for July 30, 2003, at 9:30 a.m. before United States District Judge Inge P. Johnson. (N.D. AL, Clinton) This case was investigated by the OLMS. Asst. U.S. Attny. James E. Philips prosecuted the case. [U.S.A.O., N. Dist. AL]
Ex-President Charged with Embezzlement in Miss. Fed. Court
On April 23, in the U.S. Dist. Court for the Southern Dist. of Mississippi, Randy Carr, former president of Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical and Energy Workers International Union (PACE) Local 4-575, was charged in a one-count indictment with embezzling $30,631.89 in union funds. The charges were brought following an investigation by the New Orleans branch of the U.S. Ofc. of Labor-Mgmt. Standards. [OLMS, 4/30/03]
Friend of NY Union Chief Sentenced for Possessing Forged Check
On April 28, in the Ogdensburg (New York) City Court, Wendy McNally, was fined $100 and sentenced to one year conditional discharge. On March 10, McNally, friend of former Civil Serv. Employees Assn. Local 727 President John Miller, pled guilty to one count of criminal possession of a forged instrument in the third degree. CSEA is a subunit of the Amer. Fedtn. of State, County & Municipal Employees. McNally had cashed a union check for $1,000 that was improperly written and unauthorized. The charges were brought following an investigation by the Buffalo branch of the U.S. Ofc. of Labor-Mgmt. Standards. [OLMS, 5/8/03]
Ex-Treasurer Sentenced in Ohio Court
On April 23, 2003, in the U.S. Dist. Court for the Southern Dist. of Ohio, Jeffrey Williams, former treasurer of State, County, and Municipal Employees Local 11, Chapter 6555, was sentenced to two months confinement followed by three years supervised release with an intensive drug treatment program. He was ordered to pay restitution of $2,725.66 (he had already made restitution of $586.70). He had pled guilty on January 22, 2003 to one count of embezzlement of $3,312.00 in union funds. The charges had been brought following an investigation by the Cleveland branch of the U.S. Ofc. of Labor-Mgmt. Standards. [OLMS, 4/30/03]
Ex-Ohio Treasurer Sentenced for Embezzlement
On April 21, in the U.S. Dist. Court for the Northern Dist. of Ohio, John Mylek II, former treasurer of Plasterers and Cement Masons Local 886, was sentenced to two years probation and was prohibited from using any credit cards unless cleared through the Probation Department. He was also fined $500. He had pled guilty to one count of embezzling $7,551.28 in union funds and one count of embezzling $675 in employee benefit plan funds. The charges had been brought following a joint investigation by the Cleveland branch of the U.S. Ofc. of Labor-Mgmt. Standards, the Department of Labor’s Office of the Inspector General, and the FBI. [OLMS, 4/30/03]