Secretary of Inland Empire Independent Union Sentenced for Role in Ripoffs

When it came to embezzlement, John J. Romero wasn’t in the same league as his father. But he learned the trade and is paying the price. On June 9, Romero was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California to one year of home confinement, to be followed by two years of supervised release, for his role in the disappearance of nearly $800,000 from the health plan of the Colton (San Bernardino County)-based United Industrial and Service Workers of America. He, his sister and their mother each pleaded guilty in 2017 in connection with the thefts. His father, John S. Romero, union president, was convicted by a jury this February on 14 separate felony charges. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards, Office of Inspector General and Employee Security Benefits Administration.

Union Corruption Update has been covering the Romero saga since the federal indictments came down in January 2015. Patriarch John S. Romero, now well into his 70s, ran the show. Among his offenses, he diverted over $310,000 in benefit plan assets toward personal real estate investments, roughly $300,000 toward family salaries, and $110,000 to cover a civil judgment against him and his son. This doesn’t even include $100,000 in general fund assets stashed away in a secret account from which he made payments to his mistress. With family members copping a plea, it was hard to see why the elder Romero took so long to plead guilty. His sentencing has yet to be determined. The son, at least, can contemplate his future from home rather than from prison.