Union check forgery lives in New York City. On December 12, Federck Petro, former president of Local 2094 of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), was charged in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York with embezzling more than $100,000 in funds from the Manhattan-based local, which represents VA hospital employees. He was arrested three days later on December 15. The actions follow a joint probe by the Department of Labor’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Office of Inspector General.
According to prosecutors, Petro, 57, a resident of Brooklyn, who served as Local 2094 president from February 2006 through July 2008, wrote 187 checks from a union account totaling $112,477. It was a ruse. The memo line on roughly half of those checks contained the word “supplies” or information to that effect, despite the fact that the union, as specified in its collective bargaining agreement, receives its supplies directly from the VA. The other checks contained the word “taxes” or words/notations to that effect. That, too, was a deception; at the time of Petro’s removal from office, the local owed more than $70,000 in back federal and state taxes. Discrepancies in union financial reports had led to an investigation. Following Petro’s arrest, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara remarked: “As alleged, Federck Petro was a corrupt union president who abused his position by siphoning union funds into his own pockets.”