Hedge Fund Manager Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud Benefiting NYC Corrections Union Boss

Murray Huberfeld had something on his mind other than front row seats at New York Knicks home games. That’s why he’s headed for prison. On May 25, Huberfeld, founder and head of a now-defunct hedge fund, pleaded guilty in Manhattan federal court to wire fraud conspiracy in connection with his payment of a $60,000 bribe through an intermediary to Norman Seabrook, deposed longtime president of New York City’s Correction Officers Benevolent Association (COBA), which represents employees at the sprawling Rikers Island jail complex. In exchange for the bribe, Seabrook allegedly had steered $20 million in COBA pension funds to the hedge fund, known as Platinum Partners. Huberfeld is scheduled for sentencing on September 14. Seabrook is set to go on trial on July 30.

Union Corruption Update covered this story at length back in June 2016. Norman Seabrook, who ran the 9,000-member Correction Officers Benevolent Association for more than two … Read More ➡

Treasurer of Massachusetts NEA Affiliate Charged with Embezzlement

As a school teacher, Kerrie Clarke may have done right by her students. But as a union officer, she did not do right by her fellow members. On April 27, Clarke, former treasurer of the Grafton Teachers Association (GTA), was charged in Westboro District Court with embezzling nearly $20,000 from the association, an affiliate of the Massachusetts Teachers Association, in turn an affiliate of the National Education Association. She already had resigned her position as a teacher at Millbury Street Elementary School in Grafton (Worcester County), Mass. last November. Clarke was released after entering a plea of not guilty.

According to court documents, Clarke, now 45, a resident of North Grafton, Mass., during January 2016-October 2017 used a GTA credit union account to make unauthorized withdrawals, purchases and credit card payments. She also allegedly deposited numerous union checks into a personal bank account. Clarke’s schemes began to unravel after the … Read More ➡

NLRB Rules in Favor of Dissenting Disney World Teamsters

A union can be counted on to react poorly in the face of news that its members are leaving. It may even break the law to prevent attrition. On June 20, the National Labor Relations Board, upholding an administrative court ruling, ordered International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 385 to reimburse former members for dues deducted from their paychecks after those members had submitted resignation requests. Moreover, concluded the NLRB, the union must post a message on its premises informing workers of their right to withdraw their consent to be represented. The decision was handed down amid allegations by members of the Orlando, Fla. local that their leaders have stolen funds and covered up the thefts. The international union is investigating these charges.

Teamsters Local 385 represents bus drivers and costumed characters at Walt Disney World. Yes, even Goofy, Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse, and the transporters of tourists to … Read More ➡

Texas Pharmacist Sentenced for Benefit Fraud

It takes some real teamwork to fleece the U.S. Department of Labor out of tens of millions of dollars. Nermin Awad El-Hadik, unfortunately, was an integral part of the team. On June 29, Ms. El-Hadik, owner of a Houston pharmacy, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas to five years in prison and three years of probation for paying more than $5 million in kickbacks to a Texas-based medical provider in return for referrals who then could be overcharged on prescriptions. She also was ordered to pay restitution. The kickbacks were part of a much larger scam to create fake or exaggerated worker’s compensation claims. El-Hadik had pleaded guilty in November 2016. The action follows a probe by the FBI, Army, Postal Service and Labor Department.

Nermin El-Hadik, now 42, a resident of Bellaire, Tex., was the owner-operator of Hope Pharmacy in Houston. During March-December … Read More ➡

IATSE Officials in Southeast Virginia Charged with Fraud

On June 26, Dennis and Dorian Nicely, respectively, former vice president and former business agent of International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 264, were charged in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia with one count each of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and embezzlement of $57,310 in funds from the Hampton-based union. The charges against the husband-wife couple follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.… Read More ➡

Northern California TCU Treasurer Cops Plea; Sentenced

On June 18, Daniel Ross, former treasurer of Transportation and Communications Union Lodge 6721, pleaded no contest in the Superior Court of California, County of Alameda, to misdemeanor theft in the sum of $4,607 from the Oakland union. He then was sentenced to 30 days of incarceration (suspended), plus three years of probation, and ordered to pay full restitution and a $240 fine. The Transportation and Communications Union is an affiliate of the International Association of Machinists. The plea and sentencing follow an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.… Read More ➡

Maryland AFGE Secretary-Treasurer Indicted on Multiple Counts

On June 27, Annette Jones, former secretary-treasurer of American Federation of Government Employees Local 331, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland on one count of bank fraud, two counts of mail fraud and two counts of identity theft in connection with theft of funds from the Perry Point, Md. union. The indictment did not cite a dollar figure. The indictment follows a probe by the Department of Labor’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Department of Veterans Affairs’ Office of Inspector General.… Read More ➡

Steelworkers Local Treasurer in Wisconsin Sentenced for Embezzlement

On June 18, Cheryl Angell, former treasurer of United Steelworkers Local 2-144, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin to 13 months in prison and three years of supervised release for embezzling $98,711 from the Combined Locks (Fox Cities region), Wisc.-based union. She also was ordered to pay full restitution and a $100 special assessment. Angell, a resident of nearby Kaukauna, had pleaded guilty in March after being charged in January. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

President of Upstate New York Police Union Indicted for Theft

Police all too often break the law as well as enforce it. Aaron Collington apparently is one of those officers. On June 8, Collington, a nearly 20-year veteran of the Troy, N.Y. police force, was indicted in Rensselaer County Court for third-degree larceny in connection with the disappearance of $6,200 from the bank account of the Troy Police Benevolent Association. State police allege that he diverted cash from the account and deposited the funds into his own account to cover current and back rent. Collington, now 49, who resigned his union post last September and was arrested the following month, pleaded not guilty at his June 12 arraignment.… Read More ➡

West Virginia Building & Trades Bookkeeper Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

For about four years, Joan Matthews outsmarted her union. Then people started to notice. On June 11, Matthews, former bookkeeper for the Charleston Building and Construction Trades Council, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia to one count of embezzling funds from the Charleston-based labor organization in the amount of $183,667.11. She had been indicted in January following an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards. Matthews, who has agreed to pay full restitution, is scheduled for sentencing on September 11.

According to prosecutors, Joan Matthews, now 70, a resident of South Charleston, W.Va., began stealing funds from the council, an AFL-CIO affiliate, in 2010. She did this in a variety of ways: preparing and cashing unauthorized union checks; using union funds to pay credit card bills; and making unauthorized charges to council credit cards. Her embezzlement continued until September 2014 when … Read More ➡

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