Wisconsin Corrections Union Official Sentenced for Theft

About the last thing a corrections officer needs is a criminal record. Inmates and wardens alike may have it in for him. Christopher Dehn, a former officer at Columbia Correctional Institution in Portage, Wisconsin, knows this unwritten rule too well. His dilemma is that he’ll have six months in the county jail to contemplate it. Dehn, 36, over a two-year period, embezzled tens of thousands of dollars from AFSCME Local 3394, which represents workers at the very corrections facility where he will serve time. He’d worked there from October 1999 until March of this year, when authorities discovered missing funds, concluding he was the culprit.

Dehn pleaded no contest, citing a need to cover gambling debts. His six-month sentence, handed down by Columbia County Circuit Court Judge Daniel George, may seem on the light side, especially given that it contains a work-release provision. But it could be extended Read More ➡

Former Local Boss in Wisconsin Sentenced for Embezzlement

Michael Rice had served as president of Local 538 of the United Food and Commercial Workers since the late 80s.  On Tuesday, November 29, he found out how long he’ll have to serve in another capacity:  six months as an inmate in prison, plus an additional three years of supervised release.  Rice, a resident of Madison, had embezzled slightly over $30,000 from the local in the form of bogus expense claims filed between September 2000 and April 2004.  He pleaded guilty in September and since has made restitution.  In sentencing Rice, U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb took note of the fact the some of his thefts took place during a bitter and unsuccessful strike in 2003.  Local 538 represents a combined roughly 2,200 workers at two meatpacking plants and a dairy plant in southern Wisconsin.  (Associated Press, 11/30).


Chicago-Area Read More ➡

ILA Officials, Mobster Found Not Guilty; Questions Remain

In the end, the jury wasn’t convinced. But that hardly means the prosecution wasn’t convincing. On Tuesday, November 8, a federal jury in Brooklyn, N.Y. acquitted all three defendants of conspiracy and fraud charges related to allegations they steered Longshoremen union benefit funds toward a mobbed-up pharmaceutical company. The fortunate ones are: Harold Daggett (in photo), the union’s assistant general organizer; Arthur Coffey, ILA vice president and Miami chieftain; and Lawrence Ricci, a reported Genovese crime family captain. While the verdict was a clear victory for the union, nagging questions remain – like the whereabouts of Ricci.    


The leadership of the International Longshoremen’s Association, for now, is out of the woods. Longtime President John Bowers referred to the acquittals as “a wonderful day for the ILA.” By no coincidence, just two days later on November 10, Bowers announced the union would strengthen its Code of Ethics. Among other steps, Read More ➡

Staten Island Politician Does Odd Deals with ILA; Mayor Doesn’t Mind

howland-hookMore than once they’ve been called “the odd couple” of New York City politics.  But an investigative report published in the October 25 edition of the Village Voice by Tom Robbins suggests the tight alliance between New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro, politically both Republicans but culturally worlds apart, goes well beyond typical City Hall back-scratching.  In fact, the author alleges, it has the blessing of a supporting cast of shady businessmen and local unions.  And this partnership has allowed certain elements of the Gambino and other crime families to operate with a freer hand than otherwise.


Bloomberg, whom Forbes magazine recently listed as worth $5 billion, is obviously too rich to be bought.  He has asserted repeatedly that he doesn’t govern on the basis of patronage.  But given that Staten Island went 4-to-1 for Bloomberg in his initial election in 2001, well…he Read More ➡

Duff Associate in Chicago Pleads Guilty to HERE Mail Fraud

The contracting fiefdom of Chicago’s Duff family all but ended in May with the sentencing of four top members and associates for various fraud, money-laundering and racketeering offenses.  Last month saw additional closure.  On October 20, Terrence Dolan, former operations manager for Windy City Maintenance, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to 11 counts of mail fraud.  Windy City, a Duff-owned business, falsely had filed as a woman-owned business in order to land a contract from the City of Chicago.


James Duff and William Stratton, respectively, ex-vice president and business agent of Local 3 of the Liquor and Wine Sales Representatives, an affiliate of the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees (HERE), had been two key principals in the larger scheme.  Duff, a close friend of Mayor Daley, already had pleaded guilty; Stratton, a black friend and minority-group “front,” later was convicted by a jury along with a Read More ➡

One Acquitted, Another Sentenced; San Diego’s Crisis Remains

Now that the federal government and the City of San Diego are done, for the time being, battling molehills, they will have more time for scaling mountains.  A recent federal court ruling should make for an easier transition.  On November 10, U.S. District Judge Jeffrey T. Miller took the unusual step of throwing out seven of nine guilty verdicts rendered by a jury this July against Michael Zucchet, a former city councilman, and very briefly, mayor.  “As happy as I am,” said Zucchet, “I’ll never get my name back.  I’ll never get my job back.  I’m financially ruined.  My physical and emotional health – and the health of my family – has been devastated.”  He’s a lucky man compared to ex-councilman colleague Ralph Inzunza.  Judge Miller handed down a 21-month sentence to Inzunza for extortion, fraud and conspiracy in connection with an Read More ➡

Virginia Beach Ex-Bookkeeper Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

For nearly a half decade Marcia Huizenga thought nobody would figure out how all those extra paychecks managed to get cashed.  But in the end somebody did figure it out.  Huizenga, 48, formerly bookkeeper for Teamsters Local 822, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court on November 4 to embezzling more than $47,000 in union funds.  A routine audit by the local discovered that from January 1999 to August 2003 she had prepared and cashed 77 extra paychecks for her own personal use.  Huizenga did not dispute the charge when confronted with the evidence.  Local 822 represents about 2,000 meat cutters, barbers, warehouse workers and other tradesmen in the Virginia Tidewater area.  (Associated Press, 11/5).


Niagara Falls Menace Sentenced; He’s in Good Company

The halls of justice have claimed another member of LIUNA Local 91’s criminal old guard that for a good half-dozen years Read More ➡

Pittsburgh-Area Bakery & Tobacco Workers Benefit Fund Administrator Arraigned

bakery-tobacco-workers-logoMarilyn Constable must be an incurable optimist.  The suburban Pittsburgh woman in late September was indicted by a federal grand jury on 15 counts of embezzlement.  Ms. Constable, 45, allegedly wrote out a dozen illegal checks totaling more than $7,500 from a death-benefits fund for members of Local 12 of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers union.  She has pleaded not guilty.  The union, which represented employees at a now-closed Nabisco plant and elsewhere, since has merged into BC&T Local 19 in Cleveland.   

The indictment charged that Constable, as the fund administrator, diverted local funds for rent, cable TV, and other personal expenses.  Additionally, she was named last year in an ongoing Labor Department civil complaint seeking restitution.  The suit also named as defendants Local 19, two banks and several union and bakery industry officials who acted as trustees.  (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 10/26).Read More ➡

Former Secretary-Treasurer in California Pleads Guilty

On October 21, William Good Jr., ex-financial secretary-treasurer of Local Lodge 821 of the International Association of Machinists, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California to two counts of embezzling union funds totaling $192,469.  The guilty plea follows an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.  (OLMS, 11/10).   


Ex-Treasurer in Maryland Sentenced, Ordered to Pay Restitution

On October 18, Steven R. Fairfax, formerly secretary-treasurer of Branch 3939 of the National Association of Letter Carriers, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland to five years of probation and 10 months of home confinement for embezzlement of union funds.  He also will have to make restitution to the union in the amount of $53,990.04.  He had been indicted this March.  The sentencing follows an investigation by the Department Read More ➡

Dozens of Imprisoned Mobsters, Associates Soon to Hit Streets

It usually takes more than a prison sentence to impress a career criminal to go straight, especially for someone in the Mafia. If and when released, it’s a fair bet he’ll continue doing the things that got him sent away in the first place. If the pattern holds, the next few years should see a large batch of familiar faces back in action. An unpublished federal document has revealed the names of dozens of currently imprisoned mobsters due for imminent release. Among their friends on the outside, especially in the New York City area, are crooked labor unions.


In an interagency memo, the U.S. Bureau of Prisons alerted the FBI to roughly 80 mobsters and associates set for release from prison by the start of 2007. The list, compiled this July, ought to serve as a reality check for those believing that the Mob, despite numerous recent setbacks, is on Read More ➡

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