International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT)

Painters President in New York City Sentenced for Scams

Painters logoHector 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.

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.

Painters Secretary in NW Indiana Sentenced for Embezzlement

IUPAT logoTracey Tigner might not have gotten the leniency she wanted, but her punishment won't exactly be severe either. On July 10, Tigner, former office secretary for International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) District Council 91, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana to three months in prison for embezzling $30,462 in funds from a council affiliate, IUPAT Local 460, based in Merrillville, Ind. (Lake County). She had been indicted in February, and pleaded guilty in April.

Painters District Secretary in NW Indiana Pleads Guilty to Theft from Local

IUPAT logoOn April 19, Tracey Tigner, former office secretary for International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) District Council 91, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana to embezzling funds from a council affiliate, IUPAT Local 460, based in Merrillville, Ind. (Lake County). She had been indicted in February. The plea follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Inspector General and Office of Labor-Management Standards.

President of NYC Painters Local Pleads Guilty to Fraud, Tax Evasion

IUPAT logoThe coffers of Metal Polishers Local 8A-28A are due for replenishment. Members are hoping they don't have to wait too long. On April 9, Hector Lopez, former president of the Long Island City (Queens), N.Y.-based union, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York to conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud and tax evasion, related mainly to his fleecing of a union benefit plan. He also will have to make restitution in excess of $1.1 million. Lopez had been arrested and indicted last September on 15 counts of fraud, embezzlement, tax evasion and other offenses following a joint investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor and the Internal Revenue Service.

Nevada Painters Local Bookkeeper Charged with Embezzlement

Painters logoOn November 28, Kristine Stephens, former administrative assistant and bookkeeper for International Union of Painters and Allied Trades Local 567, was charged in U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada with embezzling approximately $80,000 in funds from the Sparks, Nev. union. The indictment follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

NYC Painters President Arrested, Indicted for Kickbacks and Thefts

IUPAT logoHector Lopez increased his wealth by cutting deals with union contractors. Members of his union bore the cost. On September 18, Lopez, formerly president of Metal Polishers Local 8A-28A, an affiliate of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT), was arrested at his home and indicted in Brooklyn, N.Y. federal court on charges of enriching himself over several years through various illegal activities, the most serious of which was his acceptance of nearly $750,000 from an unnamed firm in exchange for the firm retaining control over the union benefit plan. At his arraignment, Lopez pleaded not guilty to all 15 charges, which include embezzlement, mail fraud, wire fraud, money-laundering and tax evasion. Magistrate Judge Marilyn Go released Lopez on $1 million bond, subject to electronic monitoring.

Contractor Pleads Guilty to Defrauding NYC Painters Local Benefit Fund

Brooklyn Bridge at nightFrancis Mazzella couldn't quite overcome his old temptation of getting on the take. Nominally the owner of an electrical services contracting firm, he pleaded guilty on February 27 in Brooklyn federal court to defrauding a benefit fund of a Queens, N.Y.-based union, Metal Polishers Local 8A-28A, an affiliate of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT), of an unspecified sum. The fraud charges were related to renovation work his company allegedly performed on a  union building. For Mazzella, an ex-cop with the New York Police Department (NYPD), it was a painful reminder of a dozen years earlier, when he was forced off the force in the wake of a separate scandal. In the current case, he faces anywhere from 33 to 41 months in prison.

NYC Painters Local President Sentenced for Embezzlement

PaintersOn October 24, Ephram Pascall, formerly president and business manager of International Union of Painters and Allied Trades Local 1422, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to six months home confinement and three years supervised release for embezzling $34,199 in funds from the Manhattan-based local. Pascall, who pleaded guilty in July, also will have to pay full restitution and a $100 special assessment. The guilty plea and sentencing follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

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