Chicago-Area Doctor Sentenced for $3.7M+ Fraud; Union Health Plans Affected

Medical insurance fraud is one of America’s leading growth industries.  And doctors are prominent among those getting fat and rich.  Looking on the bright side, some of them also get caught and punished.  Last August 28, Dr. Robert Kolbusz, a Chicago-area dermatologist, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to seven years in prison and ordered to pay more than $3.7 million in restitution for falsely billing Medicare and private health insurers for phony skin cancer treatments.  Among fleeced entities were area union health plans.  A jury had convicted Kolbusz in October 2014 on three counts each of wire fraud and mail fraud following a seven-count indictment in the early fall of 2012.  The actions follow a probe by the FBI and the Inspector General’s Offices of the Labor and Health & Human Services Departments.

Robert Kolbusz, now in his late 50s, was a licensed … Read More ➡

Chicago-Area Iron Workers Local Bookkeeper Sentenced

Iron Workers logoOn January 20, Michelle Misso, former bookkeeper for Iron Workers Local 63, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to three months in prison and one year of supervision for making false entries in records of the Westchester (Cook County), Ill. union to conceal her embezzlement of $47,161. She had pleaded guilty last October after being charged in August. In addition to her prison sentence, Misso was ordered to pay residual restitution totaling $31,161. The union previously had been based in nearby Broadview, Ill. The actions follow a joint investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.… Read More ➡

Kansas City, Mo. AFSCME Boss Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

afscme-logoLowell Wreh headed a union that represented jail workers.  Now he faces the possibility of being an inmate.  On January 20, Wreh, former president of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 1707, waived his right to a grand jury and pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri to one count of wire fraud in the amount of $7,642 against the Kansas City, Mo. union, which represents employees of the Jackson County Department of Corrections.  The guilty plea follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Wreh became acting president of AFSCME Local 1707 in October 2012 and then permanent president in July 2013.  His predecessor, Jesse Morgan, left under a cloud of suspicion following an internal audit that discovered more than $185,000 worth of missing funds.  Morgan would be indicted on federal charges, eventually pleading guilty to defrauding … Read More ➡

Postal Workers President in Michigan Pleads Guilty to Records Fraud

postal-workers-logoOn January 19, Jesus Gonzales, former president of American Postal Workers Union Local 300, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan to making false entries in financial records of the Lansing-based union.  Gonzales had been charged in August with embezzling $6,720 and then concealing the theft.  The actions follow a joint investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and the U.S. Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General.… Read More ➡

IRB Charges Northern California Teamster Boss with Corruption

Teamsters logoWhen the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the Justice Department agreed last January to replace the tight government oversight established over 25 years earlier with union self-regulation, the terms called for phasing out the federal role over five years rather than lifting it all at once.  Dues-paying members may be grateful for such a precaution.  This February 10, the court-approved monitoring agency known as the Independent Review Board (IRB) issued a report charging Northern California Teamster leader Rome Aloise with various acts of corruption, including racketeering and influence-peddling.  Nearly two weeks later, Hoffa, after reviewing the report, filed charges against Aloise with the union disciplinary board.  Aloise has run for election on the Hoffa slate.  But loyalty alone might not be enough to save his job.

The Washington, D.C.-based Teamsters have been a ward of the Independent Review Board since that three-member body was launched in 1992 in the wake … Read More ➡

Letter Carriers Local Secretary-Treasurer in Missouri Indicted

letter carriers logoOn January 27, John McCain, former secretary-treasurer of National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 1016, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri on one count of embezzlement of $30,948 in funds from the Poplar Bluff, Mo. union.  The indictment follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Arkansas IBEW President-Business Manager Charged with Theft; Pleads Guilty

IBEW logoThe promotion was nice, but it couldn’t save Clinton Humphrey from being caught.  On January 26, Humphrey, formerly president-business manager of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 386, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas with embezzling $51,811.70 in funds from the Texarkana, Ark.-based union.  He then pleaded guilty.  The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Court records show that Humphrey, now 43, during the period March 2010-November 2014 used his union credit card and checking accounts to buy items for his personal use.  He had served as secretary-treasurer of Local 386 since 2009, but during mid-2014 he took over as president and business manager.  His tenure in his latter posts would be brief.  Humphrey faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, but given his guilty plea, he’s likely to be … Read More ➡

Postal Workers Treasurer in South Dakota Pleads Guilty

postal-workers-logoFor nearly four years, Susan Haugen saw her union as a private bank.  Now she’s likely to spend some time in a public prison.  On January 26, Haugen, former treasurer of the state affiliate of the American Postal Workers Union, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of South Dakota to one count of embezzlement of funds in the amount of $30,782 from the Huron, S.D.-based union.  She had been indicted in November 2014 on three counts of stealing a combined more than $36,000 following a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

According to prosecutors, Haugen, currently age 56 or 57, during May 2010-March 2014 had made slightly more than $25,000 in unauthorized cash withdrawals from the union bank account.  She also had used the union credit and debit cards to cover roughly another $11,000 in unauthorized personal expenses.  No sentencing date yet … Read More ➡

Cleveland Plumbers Office Secretary Sentenced for Theft

plumbers-union-logoOn January 19, Heather Banhidy, former office secretary for United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 120, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio to two years of probation and 50 hours of community service for embezzling $13,906 from the Cleveland union.  She also was ordered to pay a $100 special assessment on top of the full restitution which she already had made.  Banhidy had pleaded guilty in October following her indictment in August.  The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Illinois Maintenance of Way Secretary Pleads Guilty; Sentenced

On January 15, Joshua Lewis, former secretary-treasurer of Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division Lodge 212, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois for making false statements in financial records of the Gillespie (Macoupin County), Ill.-based union. He then was sentenced to one year of probation and ordered to pay a $25 social assessment. Lewis had been indicted in November. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡