On March 11, Jennifer Gent, former office manager for Sheet Metal Workers Local 12, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania to three years of probation, the first ten months of which must be served in home detention, for embezzling $30,297 in funds from the Pittsburgh union’s Journeymen Apprentice Training Fund. She also was ordered to pay full restitution. Gent pleaded guilty last November after being indicted in April. The actions follow an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
Timothy Sanchez couldn’t maintain the ruse forever. And he’s beginning a sentence because of that. On March 5, Sanchez, former president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 906, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas to 18 months in prison, followed by one year of supervised release, for embezzling more than $51,000 from the union, which represents about 200 employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Health Resource Center in Topeka, Kan. and Waco, Texas. He also will have to make restitution in the amount of $50,156, a sum slightly less than what he took.
On March 4, Michael Trembulak, former president of Utility Workers Union of America Local 475, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania to embezzling $31,528 in funds from the Rochester (Beaver County), Pa.-based union. He had been indicted last July. That same month, about two weeks earlier, another former Local 475 president, John Vetterly Jr., had been sentenced to nine months of house arrest and five years of probation for embezzling $26,605 from the union. In each case, the actions followed an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
For Juan “Alex” Cedeno, the party’s over. And the bill has come due. On March 6, Cedeno, former president of United Steelworkers Local 4-318, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York to one count of false-record keeping in connection with his theft or misappropriation of more than $90,000 in funds from the Queens, N.Y. union. Cedeno had been arrested and charged last May after a joint probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Employee Benefits Security Administration.
It 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.
Stephanie Hicks wrote lots of checks from her union accounts. The problem is that they didn’t always go to cover union expenses. Hicks, former president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 2207, was arrested and charged on March 11 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District Of Alabama with embezzling more than $132,000 in funds from the union, which represents VA hospital employees in Birmingham. She had been indicted by a grand jury in February for bank fraud, forgery and aggravated identity theft. The charges follow a joint probe by the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.
On March 4, Gregory Hill and Danny Rawls, respectively, vice president and member of Local 2297 of the United Auto Workers, each were indicted on nine counts in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana related to their aiding and abetting embezzlement in excess of $12,000, uttering forged checks, and conspiracy to commit forgery against the Shreveport-based union. The indictments follow an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
On February 23, Henry Shuler, former treasurer of United Transportation Union Local 1892, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas with one count of embezzlement of funds from the Houston union. The charge follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
On March 3, Jeffrey Jones, former president of National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 6066, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia to one year of probation for embezzling $7,649 in funds from the Chesapeake, Va. union. He also was ordered to pay full restitution. Jones had pleaded guilty in November after being charged in October. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
On February 26, Thomas Wilson, former secretary-treasurer of Association of Civilian Technicians Chapter 83, was charged in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Hardin County Circuit Court, with one count of felony theft from the Fort Knox-based union in an amount of over $10,000. The charge follows a joint investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and the Defense Department’s Criminal Investigative Service.