Teamsters Bookkeeper in Tennessee Sentenced for Records Fraud

On March 11, Judith Barker, former bookkeeper for International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 519, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee to two years of probation, and ordered to pay $5,400 in restitution and a $25 special assessment, for concealing thefts in the records of the Knoxville-based union. Barker had pleaded guilty in November. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards. … Read More ➡

FBI Probes $500K+ in Border Patrol Union Missing Funds

The U.S. Border Patrol protects our borders against persons who attempt to enter our country illegally. It’s risky and often thankless work. Some of its former members, however, may have looted the union representing them. A report first published in late February by ProPublica and then in other news outlets revealed that the FBI is investigating the disappearance of more than $500,000 from the bank accounts of the National Border Patrol Council, centering on the local for the El Paso sector. Council President Brandon Judd apprised his agents of the situation last November. “We know the FBI is looking into it,” he said. Rumors had been circulating that the finances of the Washington, D.C.-based union, an affiliate of the American Federation of Government Employees and the AFL-CIO, are in disarray.

Border protection is a necessary function of any nation. And agents for the U.S. Border Patrol, part of U.S. Customs … Read More ➡

Steelworkers Secretary in Tennessee Charged; Pleads Guilty and Is Sentenced

On March 9, Joshua Greer, former financial secretary of United Steelworkers Local 9-212, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee with one count of knowingly making false statements in Department of Labor financial reporting forms on behalf of the Jackson, Tenn.-based union. He then pleaded guilty. Following the guilty plea, the court sentenced Greer to one year of probation and ordered him to pay $116 in residual restitution and a $25 special assessment. He already had paid restitution in the sum of $2,501. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

AFGE Secretary in North Carolina Charged with Fraud; Pleads Guilty

On March 11, Rudy Ziegler, former secretary-treasurer for American Federation of Government Employees Local 446, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina with one count of wire fraud in the amount of $5,276 against the Asheville union. He then pleaded guilty. The charge and plea follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.  … Read More ➡

Workers United Midwest Board Comptroller Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy, Wire Fraud

On February 27, Robert Kurtycz, former comptroller for Workers United’s Chicago and Midwest Regional Joint Board, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to one count of conspiracy to commit commercial bribery and one count of wire fraud in relation to his receipt of unauthorized expense reimbursements totaling $85,962. The Chicago-based joint board, like Workers United, is an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union. He had been indicted last May on the conspiracy count plus six counts of wire fraud. The actions follow a joint probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards, Office of Inspector General and Employee Benefits Security Administration.… Read More ➡

Laborers Business Manager in West Virginia Charged with Embezzlement

Rick Drain might be going down the drain. And some would call that poetic justice. On March 2, Drain, former business manager of Laborers International Union of North America Local 1085, was charged in an information in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia with embezzling $50,281 in funds from the Parkersburg-based union, which represents several hundred construction and public service employees. The charge follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards. There is a story within the story here. For this case might well have its roots in events of more than a decade ago.

Back in July 2009, an Ohio woman, Debra Ann Pryor, had named LIUNA Local 1085 and Rick Drain as co-defendants in a civil rights suit in Wood County (West Virginia) Circuit Court. Pryor, the local office manager for several years until her dismissal, had claimed she was … Read More ➡

Labor Department Issues Final Rule to Halt Union Trust Fund Abuse

Union health, retirement and other benefit funds all too often serve as incubators for fraud and embezzlement. The U.S. Department of Labor, after over 15 years, may be on the verge of realizing an anticipated tool for dramatically reducing these thefts. On March 6, DOL’s Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) published a final rule requiring labor organizations with total annual receipts of at least $250,000 to file a financial report, Form T-1, detailing how their trust funds are spent. “Full disclosure of trust operations gives workers the information they need to make informed choices, and more information means better decisions,” said OLMS Director Arthur Rosenfeld. The rule is effective April 6. But unions may go to court to block the rule – something they did twice, and successfully, during the Bush years.

As with any organization, union coffers present opportunities for illegal self-enrichment by people who think they can get … Read More ➡

President of Arkansas Electrical Workers Local Charged with Theft

On March 6, Michael Johnson, former president and business manager of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1658, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas with one count of embezzling $9,317 in funds from the Pine Bluff union. The charge follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Letter Carriers Secretary in Georgia Indicted for Embezzlement

On February 28, Janet Pilcher, former secretary-treasurer of National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 536, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia for embezzling $65,033 in funds from the Rome, Ga.-based union. The charge follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

South Carolina AFGE Local President Pleads Guilty

John Sammons was a double-dipper when it came to travel, but at least can take comfort in being convicted on a single charge. On February 28, Sammons, former president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 1872, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina to one count of theft in excess of $1,000 from the union, which represents about 150 to 200 civilian employees at Shaw Air Force Base. Sammons had been indicted last July on five counts of mail fraud and one count of theft whose sum total was not specified at the time. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Sammons, now 61, an employee of Shaw AFB, was president of AFGE Local 1872 from about 2000 through 2016. Unfortunately, say prosecutors, he used his position to receive extra reimbursements for trips related to his work … Read More ➡