Letter Carriers Vice President in NE Pennsylvania Indicted for Wire Fraud

Part of Joseph Whitbeck’s job was watching out for fellow union members. Little did they know, he also was ripping a number of them off. On April 13, Whitbeck, former vice president of National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 274, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on 10 counts each of wire fraud and honest services wire fraud that cost members of the Allentown Post Office due overtime compensation. The alleged scheme also involved several fellow postal employees. Though authorities did not provide a dollar figure, the scheme lasted more than a decade, so the sum must have been sizable. The indictment follows a joint investigation by the U.S. Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General and the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.

As Branch 274 vice president, Whitbeck, now 55, a resident of Tamaqua, Pa., was responsible … Read More ➡

Steelworkers Local President in Oklahoma Pleads Guilty

On April 8, Thomas Burkhart, former president of United Steelworkers Local 145, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma to embezzling $19,900 in funds from the Sapulpa-based union. He had been charged on March 25. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Former Longshoremen President, Vice President in Texas Indicted

On March 10, Rodney Priestley and Brian Walker, respectively, former president and vice president of International Longshoremen’s Association Local 1504-8, were indicted in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas for embezzling funds from the Galveston-based union. Priestley allegedly stole $32,230; Walker allegedly stole $20,001. The charges follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Los Angeles-Area UFCW Secretary Charged with Making False Statement

On March 18, Kurt Kittleson, former secretary-treasurer of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 151D, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in a one-count information with making a false statement in a financial report on behalf of the Rancho Palos Verdes (Los Angeles County) union. The charge follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.  … Read More ➡

Civilian Technicians President in Maryland Indicted for Thefts

On March 25, Lamar Elliott, former president of Association of Civilian Technicians Chapter 134, was indicted in Prince George’s County (Md.) Circuit Court on one count each of theft and embezzlement from the Clinton-based union. The alleged theft totaled between $1,500 and $25,000; the alleged embezzlement totaled $19,806. The indictment follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

San Francisco Bay Area Teachers Union Treasurer Sentenced for Bank Fraud

Those who steal from teacher unions aren’t necessarily employed by public schools. The case of Kenneth Morris is instructive. On March 24, Morris, treasurer of American Federation of Teachers Local 2240, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California for pilfering from the San Francisco-based union, which represents teachers and other school employees of the Catholic Diocese of San Jose, part of the San Francisco Archdiocese. He also must pay the union $101,583 in restitution and a $100 assessment. Morris had pleaded guilty in November 2019 to one count of bank fraud after being indicted that August on five counts of bank fraud and three counts of embezzlement. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Morris, now in his early 50s, a resident of Alameda, Calif., had been a math teacher at Archbishop Riordan High School in San Francisco. … Read More ➡

Court Rules in Favor of Injured Stuntwoman; SAG Benefit Plan Board Remains in Denial

If someone claimed severe trauma after decades of falling down stairs, getting into car crashes, getting dropped to the floor head first, and leaping from rigged explosions, one would tend to believe that person. Yet the Screen Actors Guild Pension and Health Plan believes that Leslie Hoffman, a retired Hollywood stuntwoman who did these things and more, has no right to make such a claim. Trustees of the plan, in fact, have spent over a decade in court for the purpose of blocking her attempt to receive benefits. But a U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, now has told the Plan that the charade is over. On March 18, a three-judge panel ruled that Ms. Hoffman, who hasn’t done any stunts in nearly 20 years and who has been diagnosed multiple times with traumatic brain injury, deserves full compensation. But the circuit court, and not for the first time, has … Read More ➡

Steelworkers President in Oklahoma Charged with Embezzlement

On March 25, Thomas Burkhart, former president of United Steelworkers Local 145, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma with one count of embezzling funds from the Sapulpa (near Tulsa)-based union in the sum of $19,900. The charge follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

AFL-CIO Detroit Branch Treasurer Charged with Embezzlement

Cathy Long had an impressive skill set. Unfortunately for her, those skills were illegal. On March 12, Long, former treasurer of the Metro Detroit Branch of the AFL-CIO and the Laborers International Hall of Fame (LIHOF), was charged in Wayne County (Mich.) District Court with stealing a combined nearly $50,000 from the two organizations over a more than three-year period. An internal review in July 2018 of financial records had uncovered a series of unauthorized payments. She was charged with two counts of embezzlement, three counts of uttering and publishing, using a computer to commit a crime, and larceny. Long pleaded not guilty at her court arraignment. The evidence suggests she would do well to change her plea.

According to prosecutors, Long, now 61, a resident of Detroit, during March 2015-July 2018 falsified a computerized accounting program, forging the names of authorized signers on checks and “manufacturing documents to give … Read More ➡

New Orleans-Area UFCW President Sentenced for Embezzlement

On March 30, Mark Douglas, former president of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1101, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana to two years of probation for embezzling funds from the Arabi (near New Orleans) union. He also was ordered to pay restitution to the union in the sum of $7,078.35 and a special assessment of $100. According to prosecutors, Douglas, now 72, a resident of New Orleans, during November 2011-January 2015 had filed fake reimbursement claims for “lost time.” He eventually was charged in April 2019, and pleaded guilty that September. UFCW Local 1101 represents employees of the Domino Sugar Company. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.  … Read More ➡