Los Angeles-Area ILWU Member Sentenced in Benefit Scheme

Apparently, David Gomez didn’t steal as much as the authorities had claimed. But he’s still headed for hard time. On January 9, Gomez, a resident of San Pedro, Calif. and a member of International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 13, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California to 41 months in federal prison and ordered to pay restitution for his role in a scheme to defraud a union-sponsored health care plan out of $258,913 for unnecessary or nonexistent chiropractic services. Gomez and co-defendant Sergio Amador received an estimated $228,000. He and Amador had pleaded guilty last October to 20 counts of mail fraud, at the time reported as totaling around $3 million. Amador pleaded guilty last year, and is scheduled for sentencing on April 6. ILWU Local 13 represents dockworkers at Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach. The actions follow a probe … Read More ➡

Trump and the Unions: How Close of a Working Relationship?

President Donald Trump and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka would seem to have nothing in common, save for the first four letters of their last names. Yet each shares a conviction that government must protect domestic industry. This common interest became clear on Monday when Trump signed an executive order withdrawing the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement and later met that day with union officials. Trumka, who during the 2016 campaign had called Trump a “fraud,” now praised his nemesis though without mentioning his name. Teamster President James Hoffa called Trump’s order “the first step toward fixing 30 years of bad trade policies that have cost working Americans millions of good-paying jobs.” One asks: Is there an alliance in the making? The answer: Probably not.

There can be no doubt that Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, unexpected as it was successful, altered some basic “Right vs. Left” assumptions about … Read More ➡

New Jersey UAW President, Insurance Broker Charged in $6.6M Health Plan Scam

Health care fraud these past several years has been a growth industry, especially when union leaders help create it. On January 9, Sergio Acosta and Lawrence Ackerman were charged in Newark, N.J. federal court with defrauding a union-sponsored health care plan out of about $6.6 million. Acosta and Ackerman, respectively, the former president of United Auto Workers Local 2326 and a ranking officer of several insurance companies, allegedly recruited hundreds of ineligible participants from across the U.S. to pose as plan participants. Each defendant was indicted on one count each of conspiring to defraud Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield and conspiring to defraud the union health plan. An arraignment date has yet to be set.

Sergio Acosta, now 66, a resident of Passaic, served as president of the Woodbridge, N.J.-based UAW Local 2326 during 2002-08. Following that tenure, he was a representative of the international union and a trustee of … Read More ➡

Electrical Workers Treasurer in South Dakota Indicted for Fraud

On December 6, Salvatore Zagra, former treasurer of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1959, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the District of South Dakota on two counts of fraud related to his obtaining bank funds to execute a real estate transaction. He allegedly cashed checks from an account of the Watertown, S.D.-based union and diverted the funds to his own personal use. The charges follow a joint investigation by the FBI, the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards, and the Office of Inspector General of both the Department of Energy and General Services Administration.… Read More ➡

AFSCME President in Baltimore Pleads Guilty to Theft

On December 14, Betty Robinson, former president of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 2751, pleaded guilty in Baltimore City Circuit Court to theft in the amount of $30,150 from the Baltimore union. She had been indicted in September 2015. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

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Security Officers President in Washington, D.C. Pleads Guilty; Sentenced

On December 16, Gregory Tyree, ex-president of the National Association of Special Police and Security Officers of America (NASPSO), was charged in Superior Court for the District of Columbia with theft of $1,219 from the Washington, D.C.-based union. He then pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 90 days of incarceration (suspended) and one year of probation. He also was ordered to pay residual restitution in the amount of $389. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

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Illinois Bricklayers President Sentenced for $300K+ Theft

On December 15, David Fleury, former president of International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Local 6, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to two years in prison and three years of supervised release for embezzling funds from the Rockford union. He also was ordered to pay $318,036 in restitution and a $100 special assessment. Fleury had pleaded guilty last August after being charged in July. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Michigan Letter Carriers Officer Sentenced for Embezzlement

On December 12, Brian Cisek, former sergeant-at-arms of National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 56, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan to two years of probation, and was ordered to pay a $3,000 fine and a $100 special assessment, for embezzling funds from the Grand Rapids-based union. He previously paid restitution in the amount of $9,200. Cisek had pleaded guilty in August after being charged earlier that month. The actions follow a probe by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Sharpton Washington March Offers Preview of Political Intimidation

When it comes to organizing rallies on short notice, Al Sharpton has few peers. The ability of Reverend Al to generate a crowd through his New York City-based nonprofit National Action Network (NAN) was in evidence last Saturday morning, January 14, in the nation’s capital. Billed as the “We Shall Not Be Moved March on Washington,” the rain-soaked event (see photo) drew thousands of participants, overwhelmingly black, many of whom arrived by chartered bus. The stated purpose of this grievance convention, timed for Martin Luther King Day and the Donald Trump inauguration, was to pressure Congress into resisting the new administration. Accordingly, the march offered a platform for ritual denunciations of enemies of blacks, Hispanics, gays and other “disenfranchised” groups, and calls for new laws to protect their members. If lawmakers are smart, they’ll take a pass.

Al Sharpton for more than a decade has become a political player of … Read More ➡

Electrical Workers Office Manager in Texas Sentenced for Embezzlement

On December 15, Jennifer Cruise, also known as Jenn Studebaker, former office manager for International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 520, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas to three years of probation for embezzling funds from the Austin-based union. She also was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $12,344 and a special assessment of $100. Cruise had pleaded guilty in October after being charged in August for stealing $12,750. The actions follow an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

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