Maryland Contractor Pleads Guilty to Bribing, Defrauding Virginia Union

Howard Janoske obtained business on the principle that every man has his price. Now he’s likely to pay a different kind of price. On March 1, Janoske, president of an unnamed Maryland-based plumbing and HVAC contractor, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia to honest services fraud, theft and embezzlement in providing an official of an unnamed Virginia-based labor union with extensive kickbacks over a three-year period in return for receiving preference for union contracts. Sentencing is scheduled for July 12. The plea follows a joint investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.

According to the indictment, Howard Janoske, now 74, a resident of Oakland, Maryland (in the westernmost portion of the state), entered into an illegal quid pro quo agreement with the facilities and real estate manager of an unnamed large international union based in … Read More ➡

AFSCME Treasurer in Northern California Sentenced for $500K Ripoff

Susan Kyle paid herself on a weekly basis. Unfortunately, union members were involuntarily subsidizing her. On February 4, Kyle, former treasurer of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 2428, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California to two years in prison, plus three years of supervised release, for embezzling nearly $500,000 in funds over a six-year period from the Oakland-based union, which represents employees of East Bay Regional Parks. She had pleaded guilty last October to embezzlement and concealment; as part of the plea agreement, she will pay full restitution. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

According to prosecutors, Kyle, now 61, a resident of Citrus Heights (Sacramento County), Calif., used her position as local treasurer to “issue unauthorized payments to herself on a weekly basis” during 2008-14. She would verbally authorize the union … Read More ➡

Machinists Treasurer in California Charged with Embezzlement, Coverup

For about a year, Kevin Crownover was too clever for his own good. He soon may have to do around that time behind bars. On January 31, Crownover, former treasurer for International Association of Machinists Local Lodge 2947, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California with one count of embezzling funds and one count of aggravated identity theft from the union, which represents mechanics employed at Lemoore Naval Air Station (Kings County), located south of Fresno. The total loss to the union is estimated at $50,879. The charges follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

According to prosecutors, Crownover, now 46, a former employee at Lemoore Naval Air Station, during September 2015-October 2016 wrote at least 70 unauthorized checks and made any number of cash withdrawals from union bank accounts. In addition, to conceal the thefts, he forged the signature … Read More ➡

IBEW Business Manager in Philadelphia, Seven Others Indicted

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 98 in Philadelphia used to be an open cash register for certain members and outside persons. Now the register has been closed. Last Wednesday, January 30, local Business Manager John Dougherty and seven other persons, including a Philadelphia city councilman, were charged in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in a 116-count indictment alleging a wide range of offenses including embezzlement, wire fraud and bribery. The defendants, all of whom have pleaded not guilty, during April 2010-August 2016 allegedly used union funds for unauthorized uses. It was in August 2016 that FBI agents raided over a dozen union construction sites, homes and offices following a joint probe by the FBI, the IRS, several agencies within the Department of Labor, and Pennsylvania State Police.

Electrical Workers Local 98 is no stranger to Union Corruption Update. More than a decade ago, a unionized … Read More ➡

Carpenters Treasurer in Ohio Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

On January 3, Steven Kristopher Perry, former financial secretary-treasurer of United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America Local 2077, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio to one count of embezzling $20,458 in funds from the Columbus-based union. He had been charged last October. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Ex-UAW President in New Jersey Sentenced for Benefit Fraud

Considering what Sergio Acosta stole, and enabled his business partner to steal, he is one lucky man. On January 15, Acosta, formerly president of United Auto Workers Local 2326 and trustee of a related health plan, was sentenced in Trenton federal court to three years of supervised release for scamming the plan and keeping a large portion of claims payouts. He also was ordered to pay $32,000 in restitution. Acosta had pleaded guilty last April to a superseding information count of theft, embezzlement and fund conversion. He and a New Jersey businessman, Lawrence Ackerman, had been charged in January 2017 in the scheme, which resulted in a $6.6 million loss to Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey. Ackerman, who pleaded guilty in December, is set for sentencing on March 20. The actions follow a U.S. Labor Department probe.

As Union Corruption Update has noted (here and here), Sergio … Read More ➡

SMART Secretary-Treasurer in Illinois Pleads Guilty to Records Fraud

On January 17, Edward Cranston, former secretary-treasurer of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART) Local 1421, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to one count of filing a false financial report to the U.S. Department of Labor for the purpose of concealing $28,220 in funds he had stolen from the Beecher (Will County), Ill.-based union. The plea follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

AFGE Secretary in Oklahoma Charged with Embezzlement

On January 15, Christy Coppin, former office secretary for American Federation of Government Employees Local 2250, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma with theft and embezzlement from the Muskogee-based union in the sum of $52,738. The indictment follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Kansas President of Government Employees Union Sentenced

On January 22, Robert Clearwater, former president of National Association of Government Employees (NAGE) Local 14-8, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas to three years of supervised probation for embezzling $11,681 in funds from the Topeka union. He also was ordered to pay full restitution plus a special assessment of $700. Clearwater had pleaded guilty to embezzlement and falsifying union financial records last April after being charged in February. NAGE is an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Independent Union Boss in New York Sentenced for Role in $1M+ Scams

For years, Rocco Fazzolari used his union and a related benefit plan as sources of easy money. He’s now about to live the hard life. Fazzolari, formerly president of United Industrial and Service Employees Union Local 122, today was sentenced in Manhattan federal court to 37 months in prison for embezzlement, false record-keeping and receiving kickbacks from the East Meadow (Long Island), N.Y. -based union. Through these schemes, he and an unnamed co-conspirator had enriched themselves by more than $1.3 million. In addition to serving prison time, he will have to forfeit $941,828 in assets and pay restitution of $1,288,810.75. Fazzolari had pleaded guilty in September following a joint probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards, Office of Inspector General, and Employee Benefits Security Administration.

According to prosecutors, Fazzolari, now 58, a resident of Manhasset Hills, Long Island, during 2012-16 embezzled union funds to pay for … Read More ➡