New Department Of Labor Report Reveals Rampant Embezzlement By Union Employees Around U.S.

Those still holding out hope that massive labor unions around the country are anything but dens of corruption run by morally bankrupt union bosses, motivated solely by their own personal enrichment and not the best interests of their dues paying members, should probably stop reading this article now. 

For the rest of you, a new report from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), obtained by the Detroit Free Press, proves that the corruption inside of union offices around the country is far more rampant than you ever imagined.  As the Free Press notes, in the past two years alone, more than 300 union locations have discovered embezzlement of union funds totaling millions of dollars...and that's just counting the people who got caught.

Even though the UAW is the poster child of union corruption, cases reported by the DOL involved unions representing nurses, aerospace engineers, firefighters, teachers, film and TV artists, air traffic controllers, musicians, bus inspectors, bakery workers, roofers, postal workers, machinists, ironworkers, steelworkers, dairy workers, plasterers, train operators, plumbers, stagehands, engineers, electricians, heat insulators, missile range workers and bricklayers.  Meanwhile, the various cases involve embezzlement and fraud ranging from $1,051 up to nearly $6.5 million.

UAW

Of course, the biggest and most highly publicized union embezzlement scheme of 2017 involves multiple Fiat Chrysler and UAW employees who stole millions of dollars intended for worker training...

Jerome Durden, a former financial analyst in corporate accounting at Fiat Chrysler and former Controller of the UAW-Chrysler National Training Center, pleaded guilty in August 2017 after preparing and filing tax returns that concealed millions of dollars in prohibited payments directed to others in 2009-15. His sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 23.

Alphons Iacobelli, former vice president at FCA, was charged in July 2017 with conspiracy and delivering more than $1.2 million in prohibited payments and things of value to the late General Holiefield, former vice president of the UAW, Holiefield's wife and other UAW officials. His trial is scheduled for March 19.

Monica Morgan, wife of Holiefield, was charged in July 2017 with tax evasion and conspiracy stemming from her family’s receipt of more than $1.2 million from the former vice president of FCA between 2009 and 2014. Her trial is scheduled for March 19.

Virdell King, a former assistant director of the UAW-Chrysler National Training Center, pleaded guilty in August 2017 to receiving more than $40,000 in prohibited payments and things of value from the former vice president of FCA and “others acting in the interest of FCA.” Payments received between 2012 and 2015 included purchases of clothing, jewelry, luggage, golf equipment, concert tickets and theme park tickets. She is scheduled to be sentenced May 1.

Al Iacobelli
Al Iacobelli, Former VP at Fiat Chrysler

...but the FCA case is hardly unique as there are literally 100's of indictments targeting union embezzlement every single year.  Here is a just a small sample of some of the largest cases noted by the DOL in 2017:

  • Laborers Local 657 in Washington, D.C., saw its business manager sentenced to four years in prison in February 2017 for embezzlement and was ordered to pay $1,632,000 in restitution. Two contractors were sent to prison and ordered to pay restitution, too.
  • The International Brotherhood of Boilermakers Local 154 in Pittsburgh saw its former business manager plead guilty in September 2017 to embezzling approximately $1.5 million, plus tax evasion.
  • A former financial secretary for the International Longshoremen’s Association Local 970 in Norfolk, Va., was sentenced in February 2017 to 41 months in prison after stealing $1,072,669 from the union by making cash withdrawals and using money to buy gas, food, clothing, shoes, toys, entertainment and home improvement supplies.
  • A former executive director of the Hawaii Painting & Decorating Contractors Association pleaded guilty in May 2016 to embezzling approximately $1,483,800 from the Hawaii Painters Trade Promotion & Charity Fund, which comes out of the hourly wages of Painters District Council 50 in Honolulu.
  • A former union business manager for Allied Novelty and Production Workers Local 223 in New York and former president of Teamsters Local 810 in August 2016 pleaded guilty to soliciting and receive kickbacks to influence the operation of an employee benefit plan and commit theft of $1 million.

In another multimillion-dollar case, charges were filed on Jan. 9, 2017, against a former UAW president in New Jersey accused of hatching a scheme with a health insurance broker to steal $1 million from the union’s self-insured health plan and defraud Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of approximately $5.5 million.

Sergio Acosta oversaw the benefit plan for UAW Local 2326 and, authorities say, conspired with Lawrence Ackerman, who is accused of creating two shell companies to market health insurance to about 700 ineligible participants from across the country, New Jersey Advance Media reported. Acosta is accused of permitting ineligible participants to remain on the union's health care plan. No trial dates have been set. Each defendant faces up to 10 years in prison, if convicted.

“Unions are not unique,” said Peter Henning, a former federal prosecutor who teaches law at Wayne State University. “Another group hit hard by embezzlement are churches. You can’t train people to be ethical. It’s just access to money.”  He added, "These people view themselves as overworked and underpaid. Well, I’ve just identified 80% of the country.”

Of course, so long as these union bosses continue to deliver their 100,000's of votes to the Democratic party we're certain that the likes of Bernie Sanders will continue to defend their role in stealing from helping unionized workers.

Here is the full report from the Department of Labor: