Four Ex-UTU Officials Sentenced for Racketeering

Byron Boyd and Charles A. Little, both frmr. presidents of the United Transportation Union (UTU), were each sentenced to prison terms on July 9, and ordered to forfeit to the United States a total of $200,000 in racketeering activity proceeds.  U.S. Dist. Judge Sim Lake (S.D. TX, Reagan) sentenced Boyd and Little to each serve a 2 year term of imprisonment, without parole, and ordered each to forfeit to the United States $100,000 in racketeering proceeds. Both men were also fined $10,000 each.

 

Also sentenced was Ralph Dennis, the frmr. Director of Insurance for the UTU Insurance Association, was sentenced to 3 yrs. probation, fined $2,000, and ordered to forfeit $45,000 in proceeds generated by his involvement in the racketeering enterprise.  John Rookard, a frmr. field rep. for the insurance assn. and proj. coordinator for Boyd, was also sentenced to a 3 yr. term of probation with home confinement and electronic monitoring during the first 6 mos. of his probation.  Rookard was also ordered to forfeit to the United States $45,000 in racketeering proceeds.

 

All 4 men were indicted by a Houston federal grand jury last year for racketeering through bribery by using their power to collect cash payments from lawyers doing business or seeking to do business with the union, and union embezzlement between June 1994 and July 2003. All of the charges are a result of an investigation into the corrupt practices of these defendants regarding the UTU Designated Legal Counsel program.  A designation as counsel for the UTU was a highly coveted position for attorneys who practiced Federal Employment Liability Act personal injury law. It allowed attorneys’ access to the union members and to receive the lucrative business associated with representing injured rail workers in lawsuits against rail employers.  Boyd and Little admitted they caused Ralph Dennis and John Rookard to travel at union expense around the United States to personally solicit cash from designated legal counsel (DLC) to be used for Little’s 1995 and 1999 campaigns for union pres., and Boyd’s 2003 campaign for pres.

 

The sentences imposed on all four defendants reflect the court’s consideration of their cooperation with federal law enforcement and regulatory officials in their continuing investigation of the activities of persons involved in the Designated Legal Counsel program during their tenure with UTU. [U.S.A.O. S.D. TX, 7/13/04]