Christopher Kwegan wasn’t a union man. But right now he no doubt is regretting his dealings with one union in particular. On February 8, Kwegan, a real estate closing agent and co-owner of a Greenbelt, Md. consulting firm, STS General Contracting, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to four years in prison, three years of probation and 120 hours of community service for his role in various schemes to divert at least $1.7 million in funds from the Washington, D.C.-based Laborers International Union of North America Local 657 to STS. He also was ordered to pay $1,632,000 in restitution, the identical sum required of convicted co-defendant Anthony Frederick, who headed the union. Former STS principal owner Gary Cooper also was convicted in the case. The actions follow a joint probe by the FBI and the Labor Department.
According to prosecutors, Kwegan enabled Frederick and Cooper to commit various acts of embezzlement of union funds for ostensible purpose of construction or renovation of union properties. These “projects” were a ruse. Kwegan and Cooper also routed $172,000 to an electrical engineering services firm based in the Arab nation of Qatar. Kwegan had pleaded guilty last November 1 to one count each of embezzlement, honest services fraud, and accepting labor payoffs, and fully 39 counts of money-laundering. He already had been sentenced in an unrelated “straw buyer” mortgage fraud scheme in Baltimore. Laborers Local 657, meanwhile, no longer exists, having been merged into Laborers Local 11, also in the Washington, D.C. metro area.