Ex-New Jersey UAW Boss Pleads Guilty to Massive Benefit Fraud

Given what he and his partner in crime stole, Sergio Acosta may well be getting off lightly. Last Friday, April 6, Acosta, former president and then representative of the Edison, N.J.-based United Auto Workers Local 2326, pleaded guilty in Trenton federal court to a superseding information count for theft, embezzlement and fund conversion related to a scheme to defraud a union-sponsored health care plan and a Blue Cross Blue Shield affiliate out of a combined $6.6 million by recruiting hundreds of ineligible participants. He and Lawrence Ackerman, a New Jersey business executive, had been indicted in January 2017 following an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards, Office of Inspector General and Employee Benefits Security Administration.

According to prosecutors, Acosta, formerly a resident of New Jersey and now a resident of Puerto Rico, used his union positions, including that of benefit fund trustee, to coordinate an elaborate … Read More ➡

Screen Actors Guild Continues to Cheat Ex-Stuntwoman

The saga of Leslie Hoffman has been one of cuts, bruises, concussions and brain scans. And those may be the least of her problems right now. Hoffman, a retired movie and TV stuntwoman, for the last several years has been rebuffed by her union in repeated attempts to secure medical reimbursement for head, neck and other injuries she sustained in action sequences. The gatekeepers are officers of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) health and retirement plan who seem bent on creating an inexhaustible list of pretexts on which to deny benefits in the face of her palpably damaged condition. Recent evidence in Ms. Hoffman’s lawsuit against the union suggests these roadblocks to receiving benefits in part are motivated by retaliation for her outspoken views on behalf of fellow stunt performers while serving as a member of the SAG executive board starting around the mid-Eighties.

Union Corruption Update covered this running Read More ➡

Boston-Area Contractor Sentenced for Laborers Double-Breasting, Overtime Schemes

Charles R. Smith Jr. kept two sets of books. And one of them proved far more trouble than it was worth. Last Tuesday, March 27, Smith, owner of a Sharon, Mass. demolition and asbestos abatement company, was sentenced in Boston federal court to six months of home detention in connection with his defrauding members of a Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA) local out of nearly $800,000 in scheduled wages and benefits. Smith and his unionized firm, SMI Demolition Inc., also were placed on probation for two years and ordered to pay restitution. The defendants – effectively the same entity – had pleaded guilty this January to two counts of mail fraud following an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Inspector General and Employee Benefits Security Administration.

At bottom, this was a case of what is commonly called ‘double-breasting.’ Under this arrangement, a unionized contractor sets up … Read More ➡

Ex-UAW Official Indicted for Receiving Bribes from Chrysler

The fallout from the Chrysler-United Auto Workers scandal continues. Just ask Nancy Johnson. Last Wednesday, March 21, Johnson, a former ranking UAW official, was slapped with a superseding indictment in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan for accepting tens of thousands of dollars in cash and other things of value from Chrysler executives for herself and an associate in return for dropping certain demands during collective bargaining sessions in 2015. The action follows an investigation by the FBI, the IRS and the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.

Nancy Johnson not long ago was a real Detroit wheel. During 2014-16, she held the second most senior position at the UAW and was a member of the union’s negotiating team with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Unfortunately, she also could be bought. According to prosecutors, Johnson, now 57, a resident of Macomb, Mich., accepted … Read More ➡

New Jersey ILA Member Sentenced for $500K Salary Scam

Paul Moe didn’t show up for work that often, but he will be showing up for his incarceration. On Monday, March 26, Moe, a member of the International Longshoremen’s Association and the general foreman for a shipping company at Port of Elizabeth, N.J., was sentenced in Newark federal court to two years in prison and three years of supervised release for collecting a nearly $500,000 annual salary for an ostensibly full-time job performed part-time. He also was ordered to pay $749,000 in restitution. Moe had been convicted by a jury in October on 14 counts of wire fraud following a July indictment. The actions follow a joint probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards, Office of Inspector General and Employee Benefits Security Administration, plus the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor.

Court records indicate that Moe, now 66, a resident of Atlantic Highlands, N.J., during September 2015-March … Read More ➡

Michigan Steelworkers Secretary-Treasurer Sentenced for False Record-Keeping

On March 9, Kimberly Steinhoff, former secretary-treasurer of United Steelworkers Local 2-87, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan to pay $10,651.52 in restitution, a $2,500 fine and a $25 special assessment for falsifying financial records of the Munising (Upper Peninsula), Mich.-based union. She had pleaded guilty in January after being charged last June with embezzling $12,751 in union funds. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

UAW Shop Chairman in Chicago Indicted for Theft

On March 7, Milton Thomas, former shop chairman of United Auto Workers Local 890, was indicted in Cook County Court on one count of theft in an amount of between $10,000 and $100,000 from the Morton Grove, Ill.-based union. Thomas allegedly had made out unauthorized checks to himself and forged disbursement vouchers. The indictment follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

West Virginia BLET Secretary Indicted for Embezzlement

On March 6, Steven Brumit, former secretary-treasurer of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET), West Virginia Legislative Board, was indicted in Summers County, West Virginia Court on one count of embezzling $6,433.76 from the Teamsters-affiliated union, formerly located in Hinton, W.Va. In the scheme, Brumit wrote 13 unauthorized union checks to himself. The indictment follows an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Amtrak Police Union Officer Convicted of Wire Fraud

On March 2, Rocky DeFilippo, former delegate of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 189, was convicted by a jury in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on one count each of wire fraud, conspiracy to engage in wire fraud and making false statements in a letter he had filed with his employer, Amtrak, in hopes of achieving back pay and a salary increase. DeFilippo, who has been involved in a bitter personal injury suit against Amtrak for the past year, had been charged last May. The union is based in Metuchen, N.J. The actions follow a joint probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and the Amtrak Police Department.… Read More ➡

CWA Local Treasurer in Maryland Sentenced for Theft

On February 21, Fonda White, former secretary-treasurer of Communications Workers of America Local 2390, was sentenced in Prince George’s County Circuit Court to 10 years in prison (suspended), 90 days of home detention and five years of probation for theft of property from the Maugansville (near Hagerstown), Md.-based union in an amount of between $10,000 and $100,000. She also was ordered to pay $46,271.52 in restitution. White had pleaded guilty last November after being indicted in July on four charges. The union represents employees of Alcatel-Lucent (now part of Nokia) in various locations in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington, D.C. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡