On January 12, Cedric Hughes, former treasurer of the United Union of Professionals, alternately known as Service Employees International Union Local 721, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California to five years of probation for embezzling $15,193 in funds from the Los Angeles-based health care workers union. He also was ordered to make full restitution, and pay a $2,000 fine and a $100 special assessment. Hughes had pleaded guilty in September after being indicted in December 2013. The actions follow an investigation by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.
On January 8, Maria Del Cupolo, former bookkeeper for Operative Plasterers & Cement Masons International Association Local 300, was charged in the Superior Court of California, County of Alameda, with five counts of grand theft in a combined amount of more than $65,000 from the Oakland-based union, plus four counts of money laundering. The charges follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.
Among the explanations for decades of decay in Detroit, public corruption ranks high on the list. Such was evident in a courtroom on December 8, where a federal jury convicted three persons, including Paul Stewart, formerly vice president of the Detroit Police Officers Association and a trustee of the city's Police and Fire Retirement System, on conspiracy to commit honest services fraud through bribes and kickbacks. The cash and other gifts Stewart received weren't enormous - they amounted to a little under $50,000 - but they were enough to induce him and other convicted co-defendants to steer pension plans toward highly risky investments that wound up losing $97 million.
Ray Lineweber has decided that pleading guilty wasn't such a bad idea after all. On January 9, Lineweber, former legislative director of the United Transportation Union, Nebraska Legislative Board, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska to embezzling $102,907 in funds from the Omaha-based union. He had been indicted in November on one count of embezzlement, one count of mail fraud, and 15 counts of false financial record-keeping. Then, on December 2, he declined a plea deal offered by prosecutors. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.
On January 8, Robert Mays, former financial secretary of United Steelworkers Local 561, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio to three years of probation and 208 hours of community service for embezzling $24,833 in funds from the union, currently based in Lancaster, Ohio. He also was ordered to make full restitution. Mays had pleaded guilty in September after being indicted in July. The actions follow an investigation by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.
On January 7, David Lynch, former president and treasurer of National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 383, was sentenced in the McCracken County, Kentucky Circuit Court to three years in prison (suspended to 30 days in the county jail while on work release) and at least two years of probation for theft of an amount between $500 and $10,000 from the Paducah-based union. He also was ordered to pay $15,805 in restitution. Lynch pleaded guilty in October after being indicted in June. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.
At United Industrial and Service Workers of America, stealing apparently was a family affair - a Romero family affair. On January 21, husband and wife John S. and Evelyn Romero, and their two adult children, John J. and Danae Romero - each a former union official - were indicted by a federal grand jury on 40 counts related mainly to their looting of about $900,000 from the Colton (San Bernardino County), Calif. union. A week later, on January 28, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California unsealed the indictment following the arrest of the four defendants earlier that day. The actions follow a joint probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards, Office of Inspector General and Employee Benefits Security Administration.
On January 7, Jonathan Smith, former financial secretary of United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners Local 2247, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska to four months in halfway house for embezzling $41,770 from the Juneau union. He also was ordered to serve five years of probation and perform 250 hours of community service, and pay full restitution. Smith had pleaded guilty in August after being indicted in April. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.
Ann Marie Shaffer embezzled checks under the guise of processing them. She's now about to pay the price. On January 16, Shaffer, former dues clerk for International Brotherhood Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 58, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan to a year in prison for embezzling $101,059.56 in funds from the Detroit-based union. She also was ordered to serve two years of supervised release and pay $340,267.73 in restitution. Shaffer had pleaded guilty last August following a joint probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.
On January 7, Amanda Kay Nault, former president of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 249, pleaded guilty in Lenawee County (Mich.) Circuit Court to embezzling $3,454 in funds from the Adrian-based union. Nault, 31, a resident of nearby Lambertville, Mich., had made union checks out to herself and then forged the signatures of other union officers. She had been charged last September, several months after her resignation. Local 249 represents ProMedica laboratory workers in Lenawee County.