At least Brian Arnold won’t have to serve any prison time. Last Thursday, September 10, Arnold, former financial secretary of United Steelworkers Local 104M, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York to two years of probation, including six months of home confinement, for embezzling $33,224.15 from the Elmira-based union. He also was ordered to pay full restitution. The local represents employees at Anchor Glass Container Corporation. Arnold had pleaded guilty this June after being charged last October with embezzlement and concealment. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
According to prosecutors, Arnold, now 49, a resident of Pine City, N.Y., during April 2016-August 2018 made unauthorized purchases with the union’s debit card, ATM withdrawals from its checking account, and checks to himself from the checking account. All stolen funds went for his personal use. Given that he … Read More ➡
On August 31, Kathryn Connelly, former president of National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 707, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan with one count of embezzlement from the Sault Ste. Marie union in the sum of $10,323. The charge follows 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 ➡
On August 27, Larissa Iveson, daughter of a former treasurer of United Auto Workers Local 373, was sentenced in the 12th Judicial District Court of Jackson County, Michigan to two years of probation for theft in an unspecified amount from the Litchfield-based local. She had pleaded guilty in May. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
On August 17, Roger Harris, former president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 3048, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California to one count of wire fraud in the amount of $36,150 after being charged in May 2018. The union represents employees of Lompoc federal prison. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards, and the Office of Inspector General for each of the Justice Department and the Treasury Department.… Read More ➡
On August 13, Janet Pilcher, former secretary-treasurer of National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 536, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia to 30 days in prison and three years of supervised release for embezzling funds from the Rome, Ga.-based union. She also was ordered to pay $45,934 in restitution plus a $100 special assessment. Pilcher had pleaded guilty in May after being charged in February to embezzling $65,033 during October 2014-March 2018. She already has repaid $20,595. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
Organized crime has been a dominant if often hidden reality in Hawaii for decades. But at least for now one of its most violent sociopaths is out of commission. On July 15, Michael Miske Jr., was arrested at his oceanfront home in Kailua, Oahu Island and charged in Honolulu federal court, along with 10 other men, with numerous criminal charges including murder, racketeering, kidnapping, arson, robbery and money-laundering. Significantly, his empire involved, if perhaps inadvertantly, a Teamsters local. Prosecutors termed Miske “the unquestioned leader of a racketeering enterprise” which “routinely committed violent crimes and assaults, and used threats and intimidation to protect (its) illegal activities.” He pleaded not guilty to all charges. A month later, on August 11, U.S. Magistrate Judge Kenneth Mansfield ordered Miske held without bail, terming him a flight risk and a threat to the community.
Welcome to the “other” Hawaii. Behind the beautiful beaches, lush … Read More ➡
Manuel Torres used to supervise probation officers for a living. He may need a probation officer in the near future. On July 29, Torres, former president of the Santa Barbara County Probation Peace Officers Association, was arrested, and a couple of days later charged, with embezzling over $600,000 from the union over the course of more than a decade. The election of a new president last year triggered an audit of “a potential large-scale embezzlement of funds,” which quickly led to Torres’ retirement and a California district attorney probe. At his August 3 arraignment in Santa Barbara County Superior Court, Torres pleaded not guilty to all 15 charges, which included embezzlement, forgery and misappropriation of public funds. He also is facing tax-related charges. Bail has been set at $500,000.
Manuel Edward Torres and his replacement, David Silva, have some bad blood between them. Torres, now 63, headed the Santa … Read More ➡
Police unions seem to have produced a lot of corruption stories lately. The latest example comes from Northern California. On July 27, David Sittig-Wattson, now 34, former treasurer of the Rohnert Park Public Safety Officers Association, an independent union, was arrested for felony embezzlement in an unspecified sum from the association over a four-year period. He was released on $5,000 bail and is set to appear in court at a later date. Rohnert Park is a community of 50,000 located about 50 miles north of San Francisco. Sittig-Wattson had turned himself into police following an investigation by the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office at the request of the district attorney. … Read More ➡
The fall of Dennis Williams seemed as inevitable as it was anticlimactic. Yesterday, August 27, Williams, who was president of the United Auto Workers during 2014-18, was charged in Detroit federal court with conspiracy to embezzle funds from the 400,000-member union for his own use, including $56,000 for housing and luxury travel. His immediate successor, Gary Jones, had pleaded guilty in June to embezzlement, racketeering and tax fraud related to his diversion of over $1 million in UAW funds. As Williams allegedly conspired with Jones in some of these thefts, he will have a hard time convincing a jury of his innocence. More than a dozen union officials and auto executives thus far have pleaded guilty as part of an ongoing probe of the union by the FBI, the IRS and the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.
Dennis Williams, now 67, was elected president… Read More ➡
Anyone doubting that health care providers enable union benefit fraud probably hasn’t looked at Southern California lately. Mahyar David Yadidi, a Los Angeles-area chiropractor, was sentenced yesterday in federal court to 46 months in prison for submitting about $4.8 million in fraudulent reimbursements to an International Longshore and Warehouse Union health plan, and ordered to pay nearly $2 million in restitution. Yadidi had pleaded guilty last November after being charged in September. Two clinic employees, Ivan Semerdjiev and Julian Williams, had received prison sentences, respectively, of one year and six months. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards, Office of Inspector General, and Employee Benefits Security Administration, part of a larger investigation into Medicare and Medicaid fraud.
Mahyar David Hadidi, now 38, a resident of West Los Angeles, operated a chiropractic clinic in nearby San Pedro called Synergy Healthcare and Wellness Center. Unfortunately, … Read More ➡