National Official Charged with Obstructing Theft Probe
The International Brotherhood of Boilermakers needed some renovation work at its headquarters in Kansas City, Kan. Unfortunately, someone at the union thought that an unauthorized use of member funds – about $920,000 worth – could pay for it. Investigators aren’t yet certain if thefts actually occurred. But at least one person at the union appears to have something to hide. As a result, he’s facing some serious legal problems.
On September 15, a federal grand jury returned a pair of indictments against Christopher Scott Wagner, operations manager for Boilermakers National Funds, which includes at least three separate benefit plans. Wagner, 44, this past March 20 allegedly lied to investigators and obstructed a criminal investigation. This, say prosecutors, suggests that he or someone else at the union during the course of 1999 through 2001 embezzled benefit fund assets to pay for the renovations. Though Wagner has claimed only minimal involvement with the project, the feds counter that he was a central player. Among his responsibilities, argues the U.S. Attorney’s Office, were requesting price information and bids from contractors, giving instructions to contractors for floor layout and design work, and reviewing and approving invoices. The case likely will have plenty of legs, even if Wagner does cop a plea. (Kansas City Star, 9/17).