Steelworkers Secretary-Treasurer in Oklahoma Sentenced

steelworkers-logoOn August 26, Jeremy Leach, former secretary-treasurer of United Steelworkers Local 13-669, was ordered by U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma to pay a $250 fine and a $25 assessment for making false statements related to his thefts from the Pryor Creek, Okla.-based union.  Leach had pleaded guilty in May after being charged in April in a superseding indictment for stealing $3,111.  In the same case, his brother, former local president Jason Leach, pleaded guilty in May to stealing $2,524.  The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Insulators Local Business Manager in Minnesota Pleads Guilty

heat-and-frost-insulators_0On August 19, Keith Christopherson, former business manager for International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators Local 34, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota to one count of embezzlement of funds from the St. Paul-based union in the amount of $2,081.  He had been charged in a one-count information in July along with former local financial secretary Scot McNamara.  The actions follow a probe by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Indiana/Kentucky/Ohio Carpenters Regional Council Members Charged with Benefit Fraud

carpenters-logoCollecting reimbursements under false pretenses has become a common scam in union-sponsored health care plans.  The United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners doesn’t have to be reminded of that.  On August 19, five members of the union’s Indiana/Kentucky/Ohio Regional Council were charged in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana with one-count informations of theft of funds from the council health care fund.  Were that not enough, on August 30, six more union members were charged with the same offenses.  The charges follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Inspector General and Employee Benefits Security Administration.

According to the first round of prosecutions, Bradley Crostreet, Dennis Gardner, Robert Gutierrez, Aaron Vaughan and Joshua Westfall – illegally enriched themselves at the expense of the Regional Council Welfare Fund.  The defendants allegedly submitted fraudulent health care reimbursement claims, including a copy of an uncashed personal check.  Though … Read More ➡

Upstate New York Plumbers Member, Brother Sentenced for Benefit Fraud

plumbers-union-logoJohn VonFricken tried to hustle his union health care plan.  Now he’s getting a brief education on incarceration.  On July 5, VonFricken, a member of Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 7, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York to three months of weekend time at the Renssalaer County Jail, plus three years of probation, for defrauding the union health care plan out of $54,600.  He also must pay full restitution and complete 50 hours of community service.  VonFricken had pleaded guilty in February after being indicted last November.  The actions follow a joint probe by the FBI and the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Inspector General.

According to prosecutors, John VonFricken, now 51, a resident of Troy, N.Y., had submitted false receipts for orthodontic services and then submitted the invoices to the Plumbers Local 7 health care plan.  Apparently, this behavior runs in the family.  … Read More ➡

Secretary of Ohio Steelworkers Local Indicted

steelworkers-logoOn August 31, Marchelle Harvey, former financial secretary of United Steelworkers Local 67T, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania on one count of embezzling funds from the East Palestine, Ohio-based union in the amount of $10,095.  Harvey committed the alleged thefts in Pennsylvania.  The indictment follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Louisiana Steelworkers Local Secretary-Treasurer Sentenced

steelworkers-logoOn September 1, Todd Culley, former secretary-treasurer of United Steelworkers Local 103, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana to two years of probation for embezzling funds from the St. Francisville, La. union.  He also was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $91,926, plus a $3,000 fine and a $100 special assessment.  Culley had pleaded guilty in late April after being charged two weeks earlier.  The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Steelworkers Boss in Northern Ohio Charged with Theft, Fraud

steelworkers-logoFor most union officials, a strike is a last-ditch opportunity to gain bargaining leverage. For David Sager, former president of United Steelworkers Local 5000, it appears to have been an opportunity to increase his personal wealth through a series of illegal schemes. On September 14, Sager was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio on nine counts of embezzlement, plus 18 counts of mail fraud, one count of obstruction of justice and one count of making false statements to law enforcement. He then pleaded not guilty and was set free on bond. “This defendant betrayed the union membership he promised to represent,” said U.S. Attorney Carole Rendon. The charges follow a joint investigation by the IRS and the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

United Steelworkers Local 5000, based in Middleburg Heights, Ohio, in suburban Cleveland, represents about 100 employees of various Great Lakes shipping … Read More ➡

California Dentist Sentenced for Teamster Benefit Ripoff

teamsters-logoDavid Lewis enriched himself in ways that neither the dentistry profession nor Teamster members recognized – or liked.  Several months ago, he learned the high price of his actions.  On May 5, Lewis, a Sacramento-based dentist, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California to three years and 10 months in prison, and fined $75,000, for skimming at least $1 million from a union-sponsored health plan covering employees of United Parcel Service.  He had pleaded guilty in January after being indicted on 18 counts in February 2014.  The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Inspector General and Employee Benefits Security Administration, plus the California Attorney General’s Office and the state’s Dental Board.

Union Corruption Update discussed this case several months ago.  According to federal prosecutors, Lewis, now in his early 60s, back in late 2008 or early 2009 developed a … Read More ➡

Indiana Local Firefighters Secretary-Treasurer Sentenced

firefighters-logoOn August 18, John Springer, former secretary-treasurer of the Gary Professional Firefighters Association, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana to three years of probation, including three months of home detention, for three counts of wire fraud totaling $30,315.99 from the Gary-based union.  He also was ordered to pay full restitution.  He had worked out a plea agreement in March after being indicted last August.  The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Inspector General.

Springer, now 54, a resident of Indianapolis, headed the Gary Professional Firefighters Association, also known as International Association of Fire Fighters Local 359, during January 2007-December 2012.  According to prosecutors, starting in January 2008, he used his position to divert local funds for personal use.  Springer used $12,741 of the stolen money to pay for his children’s tuition at a private school and another $9,075 … Read More ➡

SMART Transportation Secretary-Treasurer in Mississippi Sentenced

smart-logoOn August 26, James Adams, former secretary-treasurer of the Transportation Division of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation (formerly the United Transportation Union) Local 427, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi to five years of probation for making false statements in records of the Byram, Miss.-based union in connection with his embezzlement of more than $45,000.  He also was ordered to pay full restitution and perform 124 hours of community service.  Adams had pleaded guilty in March after being indicted last October.  The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡