Rhode Island Police Union President Charged with Fraud

It’s an all-too-familiar story:  A cop enforces the law, but breaks it on the side by dipping into his union’s till.  Last Friday, March 24, Christopher Hayes, a former police sergeant with the Newport, R.I. police department, was charged in Providence federal court with wire fraud in the sum of more than $70,000 against Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Lodge No. 8, where he had served as president for several years.  At his arraignment hearing, he initially pleaded “not guilty,” but quickly changed his plea to “guilty.”  Hayes was released on a $10,000 unsecured bond.  The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General, assisted by the Rhode Island State Police.

According to court documents, Hayes, 49, a resident of Middletown, R.I., during August 2009-December 2014 used his union debit card to pay for personal expenses; wrote checks payable …

Washington, D.C. Corrections Union Head Pleads Guilty to $180K+ Theft

Takisha Brown Dorsey virtually cleaned out her union treasury.  Within several months, she might be cleaning prison kitchen pots and pans.  On March 9, Dorsey, formerly chairwoman of the District of Columbia Department of Youth and Rehabilitation Services union, an affiliate of the Fraternal Order of Police, pleaded guilty in Washington, D.C. federal court to wire fraud in the theft of more than $180,000 from the roughly 240-member union over a nearly three-year period.  As part of her agreement, she agreed to make full restitution and forfeit assets in an identical amount.  Sentencing is scheduled for June 1.

Dorsey, 41, a resident of Waldorf, Md., chaired the Fraternal Order of Police-DYRS during January 2012-December 2015.  In February 2014, she removed a union by-law requiring a second signature be on union checks.  That move, alleged prosecutors, paved the way for embezzlement.  In November 2015, a suspicious union executive board gave her …

Top Ten Union Corruption Stories of the Year

As in 2014, union leaders last year directed much of their energies toward maximizing political and legal advantage.  And they scored tangible victories.  President Barack Obama, now in his last year in office, is without question the best White House friend of organized labor in decades.  Among other things, unions won major cases before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), with its built-in 3-2 Democratic Party majority.  And the Teamsters achieved its long-sought goal of release from federal control established following a 1989 civil racketeering settlement.  Yet organized labor also experienced its share of setbacks, especially in the courts.  And they received lots of unwanted exposure for embezzlement and fraud.  As far as rank and file members are concerned, the most pressing problem is the growing possibility that their pension plans will be depleted.

The NLRB delivered two indisputably enormous victories for labor.  As discussed at length last January, the …

Former Amtrak Union Treasurer in New York Sentenced

Fraternal Order of Police logoFor Eric Givens, being an Amtrak cop was an opportunity to steal union funds as well as protect the public.  That’s why he’s now about to embark on a trip of a different sort.  On November 12, Givens, former secretary-treasurer of Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Lodge 189 and the Amtrak Police Labor Committee, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to 16 months in prison and three months of supervised release for embezzling a combined more than $100,000 in funds from the two New York-based labor organizations.  He also was ordered to pay about $127,000 in restitution and forfeit another roughly $12,000.  Givens had pleaded guilty in June following his arrest and indictment a year earlier.

Prosecutors had alleged that Givens, a resident of East Stroudsburg, Pa., an Amtrak security officer since 1997 and local secretary-treasurer since 2003, began to steal funds in or around …

Amtrak Union Treasurer in New York Pleads Guilty to Thefts

Fraternal Order of Police logoEric Givens' job was to keep order on the nation’s passenger railroad.  Unfortunately, he thought it also included stealing union money.  On June 24, Givens, former secretary-treasurer of Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Lodge 189 and the Amtrak Police Labor Committee, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to one count of embezzling at least $100,000 from the New York-based labor organizations.  Givens, an Amtrak police officer, had been arrested and charged last June with one count each of wire fraud, embezzlement and making a false statement, and indicted three weeks later.  The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General, and the Amtrak Police Office of Internal Affairs.

According to prosecutors, Givens, 52, a resident of East Stroudsburg, Pa. and an Amtrak cop since 1997, began to steal union funds around 2008.  He …

Jacksonville, Fla. Police Union President, VP Plead Guilty in Slot Machine Scam

Another day in Florida online gamblingIt was a scam that was the talk of Florida.  And two cops, both leaders in their police union, played no small part in making it happen.  This past January, Nelson Cuba, former president of the Jacksonville Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), pleaded guilty to three charges related to his transferring more than $500,000 from an illegal gambling enterprise to his own use.  Ex-FOP Vice President Robbie Freitas had pleaded guilty last April.  The convictions were part of a state probe into a gambling and money-laundering operation nominally run by a charity.  Participants netted nearly $300 million until the ring was busted two years ago.  Though not among the 57 arrested, Florida Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll resigned, at Governor Rick Scott's request, given the fact of her public relations work several years earlier on behalf of the charity.

The State of Florida allows slot machines in Seminole tribe-owned casinos and at dog …

Former Treasurer of Amtrak Police Union Arrested, Indicted

The union representing security employees of Amtrak, the nation’s federally-chartered rail passenger corporation, was missing funds. It didn’t have far to look for the source of the problem. On June 24, Eric Givens, a longtime Amtrak police officer, was arrested and charged in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York with one count each of wire fraud, embezzlement and making a false statement related to his alleged theft of at least $100,000 in funds from the Amtrak Police Labor Committee, and a Fraternal Order of Police affiliate, each of which he had served as treasurer. He had been arrested earlier that day. Three weeks later, on July 15, he was indicted by a grand jury. The actions follow an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General, and the Amtrak Police Department’s Office of Internal Affairs.

Eric Givens had been a …

New Mexico Local Police Union Probed for Missing Funds

Fraternal Order of Police logoPolice officers spend a lot of time investigating theft. Yet sometimes they, or their civilian employees, are the ones who get investigated. This past April, the Santa Fe Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), the New Mexico State Police and the Santa Fe District Attorney’s Office each confirmed the existence of an active criminal probe into the nature of missing funds from the Santa Fe chapter of the FOP. No charges have been filed in the ensuing months nor have any arrests been made. But evidence gathered thus far underscores how heavily the FOP, and not just its Santa Fe lodge, has come to rely on gambling for revenues. 

According to the Albuquerque Journal, an unnamed former civilian employee of the Santa Fe Fraternal Order of Police was under investigation for diversion of union funds. The individual responded that she heard that she may be a target, but denies any …

Police Union Treasurer in Pennsylvania Found Dead on Day Before Sentencing

Whether or not due to natural causes, the death of Katherine Leese was unexpected. Leese, a former Falls Township, Pennsylvania police officer, was discovered dead in her home on the afternoon of Monday, April 6, the day before she was to be sentenced for embezzling funds from the Bucks County Fraternal Order of Police (Lodge 93) where she had been treasurer. She was found in her bedroom by her mother in the Middletown Township home they shared. “It looks to be natural causes,” said her attorney, Ronald Elgart. “She was in very poor physical health,” adding that the timing of her death was “beyond bizarre.” It certainly qualified as strange.

Leese, 42, was a 10-year veteran of the Falls Police Department. This January 28, she pleaded no contest to felony theft charges. She and former Bucks County FOP President Gerald Conaway, 66, were charged last August with stealing more than …

NE Pennsylvania President, Treasurer Sentenced; Plead Guilty

Gerald Conaway knows he’s done wrong.  But the former union official will have to do some time just the same.  Conaway, formerly president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 93 in Bucks County, Pa., received a three-to-23-month prison sentence on January 28 for theft of $5,500 in union officer benefit funds to pay off personal debts.  The Southampton, Pa. resident admitted before Bucks County Judge Jeffrey Finley that he’d “tarnished the badge” he was sworn to uphold.  On one level, he’s lucky:  His fellow defendant, former FOP Treasurer Katherine Leese, pleaded no contest in the same courtroom to embezzling far more. 

Conaway, 66, was an officer with the Upper Southampton, Pa. police force; Leese, 42, was a cop in Falls Township, Pa.  The two were charged last summer following an internal audit indicating substantial shortfalls in the union death benefit fund.  Combing through bank statements

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