Boston Plumbers Bookkeeper Charged with Thefts

Plumber at workOn March 10, Esther LaFontant, former bookkeeper for United Association of Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 12, was charged in Suffolk County (Mass.) Superior Court with three counts of theft totaling approximately $155,000 from the Boston-based union. She also was charged with falsifying entries in the books of her accounting firm. The charges follow a joint investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and the Massachusetts State Police.… Read More ➡

Broward County Teachers Boss Sentenced for Fraud, Kickbacks

teachers desk reducedPatrick Santeramo’s union career ended several years ago, but the fallout continues. On April 22, Santeramo, who had run the Broward Teachers Union for a decade, was sentenced in Fort Lauderdale federal court to 18 months in prison, to be followed by two years of supervised release, for wire fraud in a school district-funded, union-run program. He also was ordered to pay $93,800 in restitution and a $4,000 fine. The prison term will run consecutive to a five-year sentence handed down days earlier in a state case involving allegations of contractor kickbacks and false reimbursements. Santeramo was convicted in January by a jury in the state case; he pleaded guilty in February in the federal case. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Inspector General.

Union Corruption Update, back in July 2012 and again this March, summarized the travails of Pat Santeramo. Now 68, Santeramo … Read More ➡

Rhode Island Landscaping Firm Executive Sentenced for Union Benefit Scam

downtown ProvidenceLike any businessman, Steven Pagliarini wanted to minimize his labor costs. But he also shortchanged laborers in the process. On April 15, Pagliarini, an executive of two Rhode Island landscaping and nursery firms, one union and the other nonunion, was sentenced in Providence federal court to three years of probation for conducting a scheme for avoiding payment of scheduled benefits to union employees. In addition, he concealed the employment status of nonunion workers from a state agency so as to pay employees with unemployment checks. The information had contained four charges – three for document falsification and one for wire fraud. As part of his sentence, he must pay restitution totaling $171,695.22. Pagliarini pled guilty on January 28 after announcing his intent to do so on January 4.

The scheme, in essence, was a case of ‘double-breasting.’ This is a well-known practice by which a unionized contractor creates a separate … Read More ➡

National Staff Organization Treasurer in South Dakota Charged

National Staff Organization logoOn March 15, Kenneth Potter, former treasurer of the South Dakota chapter of National Staff Organization, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the District of South Dakota for embezzling $4,130 in funds from the Pierre, S.D.-based union.  The indictment follows a probe by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.  National Staff Organization, based in Lincoln, Neb., represents several thousand personnel in a wide range of unions.… Read More ➡

Steelworkers Treasurer in Missouri Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

steelworkers-logoOn March 24, Terry Aters, former treasurer of United Steelworkers Local 7686, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri to one count of embezzling $153,434 in funds from the Marston, Mo.-based union.  Aters had been indicted last October.  The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Long Island Utility Workers Treasurer Charged with Theft; Pleads Guilty

utility-workers-logoSay this for Charles Burke:  He’s making amends.  On April 6, Burke, former treasurer of Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA) Local 365, pleaded guilty in Nassau County (N.Y.) District Court to stealing more than $111,000 in funds from the Valley Stream, N.Y.-based union, which represents employees of American Water.  While he could receive up to a year in jail at his June 13 sentencing, it’s not likely.  The plea deal calls for three years of probation with no jail time.  Burke had been arraigned a month earlier.  The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

According to prosecutors, Burke, now 47, a resident of Oceanside, L.I., for more than five years had diverted union funds to his own use.  He allegedly had written checks to himself and made withdrawals from union bank accounts without authorization.  Burke’s pattern of theft unraveled when the … Read More ➡

Labor Unions and Al Sharpton: An Enduring Partnership

Labor unions in this country are engines of egalitarian policy and its most potent political vehicle, the Democratic Party. As the party platform heavily overlaps with that of demagogic black identity politicians, most of all, Al Sharpton, labor leaders have become prominent supporters of Sharpton and his New York-based nonprofit, National Action Network (NAN). The bond was very much in evidence at Manhattan’s Sheraton Times Square Hotel last Friday afternoon on a discussion panel, “The State of American Labor Unions Today,” one of nearly 30 held during the NAN annual convention of April 13-16. Despite a couple of key no-shows, the speakers gave the mostly black crowd what it wanted: a rousing call for union organizing, welfare state expansion and “anti-racist” activism.

Labor and civil rights activists long have marched hand in hand, literally as well as figuratively. Unions provided ammunition for civil rights federal legislation of a half-century or … Read More ➡

BLET Secretary-Treasurer in Nevada Charged with Theft

On March 11, Patrick Cunningham, former secretary-treasurer of Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) Division 229, was charged in the Justice’s Court of Union Township, County of Humboldt, Nevada, with one count of theft of funds in an undisclosed sum from the Winnemucca union.  The charge follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Laborers Local Treasurer in Arizona Sentenced for Fraud

liuna logoOn March 4, Therlen Benally, former treasurer of Laborers International Union of North America Local 1386, was sentenced in the Superior Court of Maricopa County (Ariz.) to three years of probation for theft from the Phoenix-based health care workers union.  She also was ordered to pay $1,220 in restitution and $215 in special assessments.  Benally had pleaded guilty in January after being indicted on 29 counts last October.  The actions follow a probe by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Atlanta-Area Maintenance of Way Treasurer Pleads Guilty; Sentenced

maintenance of way employees _bmwe_ logoOn March 4, Nathan Lee, former secretary-treasurer of Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Local 536, pleaded guilty in Fulton County District Court to theft of funds from the Suwanee, Ga.-based union in the sum of $4,098.  He then was sentenced to five years of probation.  The guilty plea and sentence follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

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