Hawaii IBEW Boss, Family Members Indicted for $1.4M in Thefts

At International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1260, stealing was a family business. And business hasn’t been good lately. On August 22, a Honolulu federal court unsealed a 70-count indictment against Brian Ahakuelo, former business manager for the Honolulu local, along with his wife and a sister-in-law, for conspiracy, money laundering, wire fraud and embezzlement related to the disappearance of an estimated $1.4 million in union funds. Ahakuelo and the two others subsequently pleaded not guilty. They will have to contend with indictments handed down the next day of four union members who allegedly rigged a union vote in 2015 to approve a dues hike to cover the losses. The indictments follow a five-year probe by the IRS, the Labor Department and the State of Hawaii.

IBEW Local 1260 represents more than 3,200 utility, broadcast, maintenance and contract workers in Hawaii, Guam and Wake Island. For at least five years, … Read More ➡

Baltimore Ex-AFSCME President Sentenced for Theft

On August 20, Betty Robinson, former president of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 2751, was sentenced in Baltimore City Circuit Court to five years in prison (suspended) and five years of probation for theft in the sum of $30,150 from the Baltimore-based union. In addition, she was ordered to pay residual restitution in the amount of $26,400. Robinson had pleaded guilty in December 2016 after being indicted in September 2015. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

SPFPA President in Detroit Sentenced for Larceny

On August 23, Esper Alexander, former president of Security, Police and Fire Professionals of America Local 1111, was sentenced in Wayne County (Michigan) District Court for the State of Michigan to six months of probation and three days of community service for larceny by conversion of funds from the Detroit union in a sum of at least $200 but less than $1,000. He had pleaded guilty in July. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Food & Commercial Workers Boss in Brooklyn Sentenced for Racketeering

Once your mob partners start going to prison, it’s hard to stay out yourself. Vincent D’Acunto has learned the hard way. On August 9, D’Acunto, former secretary-treasurer of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 2D, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to 10 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, for his role in a racketeering conspiracy involving members of the Genovese crime family. A Genovese soldier, Vincent Esposito, was sentenced this July to two years in prison for running an extortion racket on behalf of the union. These and related actions follow a joint investigation by the FBI, the NYPD and the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.

Union Corruption Update has been covering this sequence of events since the initial indictments were handed down in January 2018. Two of … Read More ➡

Michigan Letter Carriers President Pleads Guilty to Theft

On August 20, Kelly Carter, former president of National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 560, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan to one count of embezzling funds in the amount of $9,031 from the Benton Harbor union. She had been indicted in June for stealing $7,130. The actions follow a joint investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and the U.S. Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General.… Read More ➡

Steelworkers Local Secretary in Arkansas Charged

On August 20, Deloistine Williams, former secretary-treasurer of United Steelworkers Local 929, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas in an information count with making a false entry in the records of the West Helena-based union. The charge follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

AFGE Secretary in Oklahoma Sentenced for Thefts

On August 7, Christy Coppin, former office secretary of American Federation of Government Employees Local 2250, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma to five years of probation for thefts in the sum of $52,738 from the union, which represents employees of the VA hospital in Muskogee. Coppin also was ordered to pay full restitution and a $100 special assessment. According to prosecutors, she stole items of value from the hospital during 2015-17. Coppin had pleaded guilty to one count of theft this February after being indicted in January. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Ohio Carpenters Secretary-Treasurer Sentenced for Embezzlement

On August 2, Steven Kristopher Perry, former financial secretary-treasurer of United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners Local 2077, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio to three years of supervised release, including 180 days of home confinement, for embezzling $20,458 in funds from the Columbus union. He also was ordered to pay $26,185 in restitution and a special assessment of $100. Perry had pleaded guilty in January following an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Feds Raid UAW Presidents’ Homes, Conference Center; Charge Ex-Union Official

A few weeks ago, U.S. Attorney for Eastern Michigan Matthew Schneider said after the sentencing of a United Auto Workers official, “We’re not done.” He wasn’t kidding. This Wednesday, FBI and IRS agents in four states raided the homes of UAW President Gary Jones (in photo) and former UAW President Dennis Williams, plus the union’s rural Michigan conference retreat/training center and a couple of other sites in search of evidence of corruption. The actions follow the convictions of several UAW and Chrysler officials for their roles in a bribery and embezzlement scheme, and charges announced this August 14 against now-retired union senior official Michael Grimes for receiving the bulk of nearly $2 million in vendor kickbacks. He pleaded not guilty to wire fraud and money laundering on Wednesday.

Union Corruption Update has covered the United Auto Workers-Fiat Chrysler scandal since it broke wide open in July 2017. The focus … Read More ➡

South Jersey Postal Union Secretary Pleads Guilty to Thefts

Robert Peter’s use of his union as a personal piggy bank was brief but lucrative. Now it’s officially over. On August 8, Peter, former secretary-treasurer of American Postal Workers Union Local 526, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey to embezzling $34,500 in funds from the Blackwood (Camden County), N.J.-based union. Local 526 represents about 900 postal employees at various locations in Southern New Jersey. The guilty plea follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

According to court records, Peter, now 58, a resident of Sicklerville, N.J., during May 1-June 13, 2018 used two methods to steal union funds. First, he made unauthorized use of the union president’s signature stamp to issue to himself eight union checks totaling $22,500. Second, also without authorization, he withdrew $12,000 in cash from a number of machines in Atlantic City with his union ATM … Read More ➡