Maryland AFGE Local Treasurer Sentenced for Embezzlement

For three years, Annette Jones used her union as a personal ATM card. Her card now no longer works. On September 10, Jones, former treasurer of American Federation of Government Employees Local 331, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland to two years in prison for embezzling more than $80,000 from her union, which represents hundreds of employees at the Perry Point VA Medical Center in Cecil County, Md. She also was ordered to pay full restitution. Jones had pleaded guilty this May after being indicted in June 2018. The actions follow a joint investigation by the Department of Labor’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Office of Inspector General.

Union Corruption Update covered this story in May. Jones, now in her mid-40s, a resident of Port Deposit, Md., conducted a pair of fraud schemes against AFGE Local 331 during July … Read More ➡

UFCW President in Louisiana Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

On September 17, Mark Douglas, president of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1101, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana to embezzling funds from the Arabi (near New Orleans) union. According to court records, during November 2011-January 2015 Douglas, now 72, a resident of New Orleans, had filed fraudulent claims for “lost time” reimbursement totaling $6,280.91. He had been charged this April with embezzling $7,078.35. AFGE Local 1101 represents employees of Domino Sugar Company. The plea follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Iowa Insulators Business Manager Sentenced for Fraud, Embezzlement

Theodore Watson developed two streams of side income over nearly a decade: his union and a charity. Neither was legal. On September 17, Watson, former business manager for International Association of Heat & Frost Insulators and Allied Workers Local 74, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa to 18 months in prison, plus three years of supervised release, for acts of mail fraud and embezzlement against the Des Moines union and a United Way chapter over nearly a decade. He also was ordered to make restitution of over $125,000. Watson had pleaded guilty in April after being indicted last December. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Now 54, Watson, a resident of Altoona (near Des Moines), Iowa, if nothing else, was inventive in the ways of embezzlement and fraud. According to prosecutors, at various points … Read More ➡

UAW Boss Pleads Guilty, Another Charged in Criminal Schemes

When it comes to self-dealing, the United Auto Workers’ General Motors Department might rival its Chrysler Department. On September 4, Michael Grimes (in photo), a now-retired senior UAW official, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan to honest services fraud and money laundering in connection with his receipt of over $1.5 million in illegal payoffs from UAW vendors over a dozen years. Eight days later, on September 12, a prominent union regional official, Vance Pearson, was arrested and charged with fraud, embezzlement and money laundering connected to separate schemes. The actions follow a joint investigation by the FBI, the IRS and the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.

Union Corruption Update described the case of Michael Grimes a few weeks ago. Grimes, now 65 and living in Fort Myers, Fla., had served as a $150,000-a-year administrative assistant to United … Read More ➡

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 ➡