Carl Horowitz's blog

Local IATSE Treasurer in Detroit Charged with Embezzlement

IATSE logoOn June 16, Bernadine Bell, former treasurer of International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 757, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan with an information count of embezzling roughly $73,000 in funds from the Detroit union.  The charge follows a joint probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.

Insulators Local Bookkeeper in Alabama Charged with Thefts

Heat and Frost Insulators logoOn June 29, Michelle Clifton, former office manager/bookkeeper for International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers Local 78, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama with one count of embezzlement in the amount of $23,014 from the Irondale (suburban Birmingham), Ala.-based construction trades union, plus 17 counts of forged securities and two counts of making fraudulent statements.  The 20-count indictment follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Massachusetts Contractors Indicted for $2M+ LIUNA Double-Breasting Scheme

LIUNA logoEmployees of Christopher and Kimberly Thompson were being had, even if they weren’t aware of it until the hammer came down.  On January 26, the Thompsons, operators of a Boston-area asbestos removal company, were indicted in U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts on 18 counts of mail fraud, 18 counts of benefit fraud and one count of embezzlement in a scheme to defraud members of a Laborers local out of more than $2 million in promised benefits.  The case has all the appearances of double-breasting.  Following their arrest, the couple pleaded not guilty in February and currently are free on bond.  As of this writing, the U.S. Attorney’s Office website indicates no subsequent action.  The actions follow a joint probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Employee Benefits Security Administration and Office of Inspector General.

Missouri Steelworkers Local Treasurer Sentenced for Theft

Steelworkers logoOn June 22, Terry Aters, former treasurer of United Steelworkers Local 7689, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri to three consecutive weekends in prison, six months in a location monitoring program and five years of probation for embezzling $153,434 from the Marston, Mo.-based union.  He also was ordered to pay full restitution plus a $100 special assessment.  Aters had pleaded guilty in March after being indicted last October.  The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Letter Carriers Secretary-Treasurer in Missouri Pleads Guilty

Letter Carriers logoOn June 22, John McCain, former secretary-treasurer of National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 2016, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri to one count of embezzling $30,948 in funds from the Poplar Bluff-based union.  McCain had been indicted in January following an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.   

Boston Officials Indicted for Extortion on Behalf of IATSE Local

Boston City HallLocal government officials can be very creative when it comes to coaxing contractors to hire union labor.  And their methods aren’t necessarily legal.  On May 17, Kenneth Brissette, director of tourism, sports and entertainment for the City of Boston, was indicted by a federal grand jury for extortion; two days later he was arrested.  And on June 29, Brissette, along with Timothy Sullivan, City chief of staff for intergovernmental affairs, received superseding indictments.  The defendants allegedly had required a concert promoter a couple of years ago that it would have to hire workers from International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 11 in order to receive the necessary permits.  The indictments follow a joint probe by the FBI and the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Inspector General.

AFGE Secretary-Treasurer in Indiana Charged with Theft

AFGE logoOn June 22, Carlton Woodcox, former secretary-treasurer of American Federation of Government Employees Local 2150, was charged in Dubois County Superior Court (Indiana) on two information counts of theft totaling $32,787.  He then was arrested on June 24.  Woodcox, 56, a resident of Jasper, allegedly made unauthorized ATM withdrawals from a union account on 117 separate occasions.  The local represents employees of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service for various plants in southern Indiana.  The charges follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Suburban Chicago Contractor Execs Plead Guilty to Wage and Benefit Fraud

Road construction laborersContractors over the years have devised numerous ways of fleecing unionized workers out of their wages and benefits.  Joseph Lampignano and John Traversa probably rank as among the more creative of the bunch.  On June 3, Lampignano, co-owner and vice president of a Chicago-area construction firm, A Lamp Concrete Contractors Inc., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to one count of mail fraud for the purpose of facilitating a scheme to avoid paying workers about $2.6 million in wage and benefit contributions.  Traversa, the company superintendent, pleaded guilty that same day to one count of lying to investigators.  Each had been charged on May 18.  The actions follow a joint probe by the FBI, the Labor Department and the Cook County Sheriff’s Office.

Fort Knox Civilian Technicians Secretary Charged; Pleads Guilty

Fort KnoxOn June 22, Steve Hartman, former secretary-treasurer of Association of Civilian Technicians Chapter 83, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky in an information count with forgery totaling $2,173 against the Fort Knox, Ky.-based union.  He then pleaded guilty.  Hartman is the second person in his position accused of stealing.  In February 2015, Thomas Wilson, a former Chapter 83 secretary-treasurer, was charged in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Hardin County Circuit Court, with one count of felony theft from the union in an amount of more than $10,000.  In each case the charge followed a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and the Defense Department’s Criminal Investigative Service.

AFGE Secretary-Treasurer in North Carolina Pleads Guilty

AFGE logoOn June 13, Benjamin Stancil, former secretary-treasurer of American Federation of Government Employees Local 451, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina to four counts of wire fraud against the Havelock, N.C. (near New Bern) union.  He had been charged in February.  The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

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