Todd J. LaScola, the fund manager for Int'l Bhd. of Elec. Workers Local 99 in Rhode Island who embezzled more than $ 6.4 million from his clients, was sentenced May 22 to eight years in prison. After an emotional three-hour hearing punctuated by statements from five of the investors defrauded by LaScola, U.S. Dist. Judge Mary M. Lisi's decision boiled down to appearances how LaScola appeared to working and retired people who entrusted him with their savings, and how he has come across since his downfall.
After listening to an elderly woman describe having to seek public housing and a sobbing father describe how LaScola had stolen his children's college money, Lisi learned that LaScola had spent $4,200 on suits last year, so that he could look good for his well-paying job in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. "There's no more despicable act than lying to people whose money you've taken so that you could look good and live the good life," said Lisi. "During these past several months, when you had some extra change in your pocket, you spent it on yourself. That tells me that you don't get it... I haven't seen you do one blessed thing for the people whose lives you've ruined."
The now-former business manager/secretary-treasurer of the Int'l. Brotherhood of Boilermakers Local 92 in Bloomington, CA, was indicted Aug. 12 by a federal grand jury for embezzling $25,000 from the union. Labor Department investigators estimate the total embezzlement closer to $52,000. According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Manuel Lujan allegedly charged personal expenses, including airfare and hotels, on the union's credit cards and made unauthorized withdrawals from its bank account. [City News Service 8/12/98]
Boss Embezzled from UMW Joseph Volansky was sentenced Aug. 6 in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh to 3 years probation and ordered to pay a $1,000 fine for embezzling from the United Mine Workers. According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, the UMW District 4 Secretary-Treasurer took an undisclosed amount by falsifying financial records and illegally using union credit cards. He was barred from union office for 13 years. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 8/7/98]