Pittsburgh Boilermakers Business Manager Pleads Guilty to $1.5M Embezzlement, $250K+ Tax Fraud

Ray Ventrone was resigned to his fate months ago. Now he’s made it official. On September 14, Ventrone, ex-business manager of International Brotherhood of Boilermakers (IBB) Local 154, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania to one count of embezzling roughly $1.5 million in funds from the Pittsburgh union and one count of tax evasion in the sum of $265,343. He had been charged this April, a couple years after various news outlets had revealed spending irregularities by the international union and Local 154 in particular. Under the plea agreement, prosecutors will seek a prison sentence of three to four years. The actions follow a joint probe by the FBI, the IRS and the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.

Union Corruption Update covered this case in April in the larger context of reckless, and on occasion illegal, spending by … Read More ➡

UAW President in Illinois Sentenced for Mail Fraud

On September 21, Bob Buford, former president of United Auto Workers Local 2419, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to 21 months in prison and three years of supervised release for mail fraud in connection with his embezzlement of $128,697 in funds from the Danville, Ill.-based union. He also was ordered to pay $129,723 in restitution and a $100 special assessment. Buford had pleaded guilty last November after being indicted that March. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Upstate New York IAFF Treasurer Pleads Guilty; Sentenced

On September 7, Ronald Watson, former treasurer of International Association of Fire Fighters Local 105F, pleaded guilty in Jefferson County, New York District Court to criminal possession of a forged instrument in the third degree. He then was sentenced to one year of conditional discharge and was ordered to pay $30,000 in restitution within 10 days. The union is based in Fort Drum, N.Y. The actions follow an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

AFGE Officials in NE Pennsylvania Plead Guilty to Bank Fraud

It may have been a formality, but it was welcome news just the same. On September 6, Michael Evans and William Uggiano, respectively, former president and former treasurer of American Federation of Government Employees Local 1699, each pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud in the estimated combined sum of more than $50,000 from the Wilkes-Barre union. They had been charged in July. The actions follow a probe by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.

According to prosecutors, Michael Evans, 56, and William Uggiano, 60, each a resident of Wilkes-Barre, during May 2013-May 2014 engaged in a scheme to commit fraud against the roughly 500-member union’s Vantage Trust First Credit Union account “by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses, representations and promises.” On several occasions, the men withdrew … Read More ➡

Secretary-Treasurer of Maine Machinists Local Pleads Guilty to Theft

On September 6, Ryan Jones, former secretary-treasurer of International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local S6, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the District of Maine to embezzling $280,865 in funds over a more than four-year period from the union, which represents certain employees at the Bath Iron Works shipbuilding facility. He had been indicted in August following a joint investigation by the FBI and the Department of Labor’s Office of Labor-Management Standards. Jones faces up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine at sentencing.… Read More ➡

Painters Secretary in Kansas City, Mo. Area Sentenced for Records Fraud

On August 31, Monique Tyson, former secretary for International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 3, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri to one year of probation for falsifying records of the Raytown, Mo.-based union to conceal thefts of an amount between $7,500 and $20,864. She previously had paid restitution in the amount of $7,500. Tyson had pleaded guilty in March. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Steelworkers Secretary in Pittsburgh Area Indicted for Embezzlement

On September 12, Marianne Rodacy, former financial secretary for United Steelworkers Local 10-53-G, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania on one count of embezzling $13,109 in funds from the Charleroi-based union. The indictment follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Plumbers Secretary in Montana Indicted for $170K+ in Thefts

On August 30, Alicia Rooney, former office secretary for United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 459, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the District of Montana for embezzling $112,153 from the Missoula-based union and another $59,650 from a benefit plan sponsored by that union. The indictment follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Detroit Operating Engineers Boss Pleads Guilty to Extortion

Several years ago, John Hamilton was one of the reasons why large sums of Detroit public employee pension funds were finding their way into the pockets of that city’s public officials, including now-imprisoned former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. But he’s currently facing some serious time of his own. On August 18, Hamilton, former business manager and general vice president of International Union of Operating Engineers Local 324, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan to one count of conspiracy to commit extortion. He had been indicted in December 2015 on nine counts for numerous offenses. The actions follow an investigation by the FBI, the IRS and the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Inspector General and Employee Benefits Security Administration.

Union Corruption Update back in February 2016 summarized the unfortunate series of events leading up to the indictment. John Hamilton, a resident of Florida these past several … Read More ➡

Civilian Technicians President in Washington State Sentenced

On August 28, Casey Cortese, former president of Association of Civilian Technicians Local Chapter 108, was sentenced in the Superior Court of Pierce County, Wash. to 240 hours of community service and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $27,514 for theft of funds from the Tacoma-area union. Cortese had pleaded guilty in May after being indicted in March. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

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