Kansas City, Mo.-Area Painters Union Secretary Pleads Guilty to Theft

On March 21, Monique Tyson, former office secretary for International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 3, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri to one count of falsifying union records of the Raytown, Mo.-based labor federation to hide her embezzlement of funds in an amount of between $7,500 and $20,864. The guilty plea follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.…

Top Ten Union Corruption Stories of the Year

Benefit scams, especially involving health plans, grabbed the lion’s share of union corruption stories in 2016.  Scammers came from outside as well as from inside the unions, a fact highlighting the need for trustees to exercise greater due diligence in choosing outside parties.  There were also the usual cases of six-figure (or more) embezzlement and fraud against union general funds.  Labor officials, meanwhile, expanded their misguided campaign to enact a $15 an hour minimum wage.  They also tried to undo Right to Work laws in three states, temporarily achieving success in two by way of court action.  And a deadlocked Supreme Court enabled state and local public-sector union bosses to retain their authority to coerce dues payments from unwilling workers.  In other words, there was plenty to write about.  Here were the ten stories that mattered most:

10)  Hawaii contractor pleads guilty; sentenced for scamming Painters union, benefit fund, IRS

Painters Union Business Agent in Hawaii Sentenced

painters-union-logoFor 17 years, Raymond Fujii routed client money to his own pockets.  But the deception couldn’t be maintained forever.  On May 13, Fujii, formerly executive director for the Painting & Decorating Contractors Association of Hawaii, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii to 42 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, for conducting an elaborate fraud scheme against the association and a related Painters union entity, the Hawaii Painters Trade Promotion & Charity Fund, that totaled nearly $1.5 million.  He also had been charged with federal income tax evasion.  Fujii had pleaded guilty on January 27, one week after being charged.  The actions follow a joint probe by the IRS and the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Raymond Fujii, now 68, a resident of Kailua, Hawaii, performed services for both management and labor.  On one hand, he was executive …

Hawaii Painters Business Agent Pleads Guilty in $1.5M Theft

Honolulu skylineWhen it comes to embezzling union funds, third-party administrators can be as adept as union officials themselves.  And thefts can go undetected for years.  Just ask Painters union members in Hawaii.  On January 27, Raymond Fujii, former executive director for a trade group, the Painting & Decorating Contractors Association of Hawaii (PDCA), pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii to one count of mail fraud in the amount of nearly $1.5 million against the PDCA and a related union-supported entity, the Hawaii Painters Trade Promotion & Charity Fund (TP&C).  Fujii also pleaded guilty to one count of filing a false tax return.  He had been charged on January 20.  The actions follow an investigation by the IRS and the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Raymond Fujii is, or was, a Honolulu businessman.  His business was representing the Painting & Decorating Contractors Association of Hawaii, …

Bookkeeper for Boston-Area Painters Council Sentenced for Theft

painters-union-logoOn October 29, Jacqueline Askew, former bookkeeper for International Union of Painters and Allied Trades Council 35, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts to two years of probation for embezzling $40,930 in funds from the Roslindale (Boston), Mass.-based union.  She also was ordered to pay $18,720 in restitution, a $2,500 fine and a $100 special assessment.  Askew, who previously paid $22,209 in restitution, had pled guilty in July after being charged in June.  The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.…

Painters Bookkeeper in Boston Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

painters-union-logoOn July 22, Jacqueline Askew, former bookkeeper for International Union of Painters and Allied Trades Council 35, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts to one count of embezzlement of $40,930 in funds from the Roslindale (Boston)-based union.  She had been charged in June following an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.…

Boston-Area Painters Council Bookkeeper Charged with Embezzlement

painters-union-logoOn June 24, Jacqueline Askew, former bookkeeper for International Union of Painters and Allied Trades Council 35, was charged in an information count in U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts with embezzling $40,930 in funds from the Boston union.  The charge follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.…

Painters President in New York City Sentenced for Scams

Hector Lopez is paying a high price for using his union as a private slush fund. And it’s doubtful that too many members are feeling too badly. On November 21, Lopez, former president of Metal Polishers Local 8A-28A, an affiliate of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT), was sentenced in Brooklyn, N.Y. federal court to four years in prison for masterminding mail and wire fraud schemes and for filing false tax returns. He also was ordered by U.S. District Judge Allyne Ross to pay $800,371 in restitution to the Queens union and forfeit another $371,517 to the government. Lopez, who was arrested and indicted in September 2012 following a joint U.S. Department of Labor-Internal Revenue Service probe, had pleaded guilty last April.

Union Corruption Update covered this case twice before (here and here). The 1,400-member Local 8A-28A had been in a protracted conflict with IUPAT, …

IUPAT Local Secretary in Ohio Pleads No Contest; Sentenced

IUPAT logoOn November 1, James DeVolld, former financial secretary of International Union of Painters and Allied Trades Local 356, pleaded no contest in Zanesville, Ohio Municipal Court to theft in the sum of $2,375 from the Zanesville-based union. He then was sentenced to 10 days in prison, two years of probation, and was ordered to make full restitution. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.…

Nevada Local Painters Bookkeeper Sentenced for Embezzlement

Painters logoOn July 15, Kristine Stephens, former administrative assistant and bookkeeper for Local 567 of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada to 10 months of home confinement with electronic monitoring, five years of probation and 100 hours of community service for embezzling funds from the Sparks-based union. She also was ordered to pay $81,564 in restitution and a $100 assessment. Stephens had pleaded guilty in March after being charged last November. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.…

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