Of all circumstances surrounding union corruption, few are sadder than those triggered by gambling losses. Such is the case of Joseph Capece, former longtime business manager of Local 163 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, based in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. On March 18, Capece, 60, was sentenced in U.S. District Court to six months in prison and fined $4,000 for thefts from his union. A resident of Nanticoke, Pa., he admitted in a February 2007 letter of resignation to the local president that his embezzlement was gambling-related. He pleaded guilty last September to stealing overall around $256,000.
Capece could have received up to two years in prison, but having taken responsibility for his actions and made full restitution, plus reimbursement for the union’s auditing and legal fees, he received leniency. “Mr. Capece did not ask for any sympathy or favors,” said his attorney Paul Dellasega. The judge commented on the fact that he had received letters from a broad range of community members pointing to Mr. Capece’s exemplary life. That said, Capece failed to heed the adage, “Gamble with your head, not over it.” (Wilkes-Barre Times Leader, 3/19/08).