Summer may be winding down, but union bosses — and their corruption schemes — are still going strong. Below are some of the latest labor rackets.
In New York, Scott Merritt, former Treasurer of Ironworkers Local 470, was sentenced to two years of probation and ordered to perform 100 hours of community service. He was also ordered to pay restitution of $50,850 and a $100 special assessment. On April 22, 2021, Merritt pleaded guilty to one count of embezzling union funds.
In Texas, KaSandra Hall, former Secretary-Treasurer of American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Council 235, was sentenced to two years of probation and ordered to pay $12,765 in restitution, a $100 fine, and a $100 special assessment. On May 18, 2021, Hall pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud.
In Michigan, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) US LLC was sentenced to 36 months of probation, fined $30,000,000, and ordered to pay a $400 special assessment fee. On March 1, 2021, FCA pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the Labor Management Relations Act (LMRA), in violation of 18 U.S.C. 371. FCA knowingly joined a conspiracy whereby it paid and delivered over $3.5 million in money and things of value to officers and employees of the United Auto Workers (UAW), located in Detroit, Mich., from 2009 through 2016. The prohibited payments and things of value included the payment of approximately $262,000 to satisfy the outstanding mortgage on the residence of former UAW Vice President General Holiefield; $25,000 for a party for former UAW Vice President Norwood Jewell; and over $30,000 in meals for UAW officials at various restaurants in Palm Springs and Southern California.
In California, Peter Burns, former Financial Secretary of United Steelworkers Local 5632, pleaded guilty to one count of embezzlement of union funds in the amount of $1,137.
In Texas, Karen Pierce, former office manager of Plumbers Local 142, was sentenced to five years of probation and ordered to pay $112,759 in restitution. On July 22, 2020, Pierce pleaded guilty to one count of theft of union funds.
On August 11, 2021, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma, Brenda Walters, former Secretary-Treasurer of American Postal Workers Union (APWU) Local 7 (located in Muskogee, Okla.), was sentenced to 60 months of probation. She was also ordered to pay $95,100 in restitution and a $100 special assessment. On March 24, 2021, Walters pleaded guilty to one count of embezzlement of union funds, in violation of 29 U.S.C. 501(c). The sentencing follows an investigation by the OLMS Dallas-New Orleans District Office.
In the Bexar County Judicial District Court, Jeannette Simmons, former bookkeeper for the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Union (SMART) Southwest Gulf Coast Regional Council (SWGCRC), located in San Antonio, Tex., was charged with one count of theft, one count of misapplication of fiduciary property, and one count of forgery in the aggregate amount greater than $30,000 and less than $150,000.
In the District of Columbia, Roderick Marvin Bennett, former Chief of Staff for the Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA), located in Washington, D.C., was found guilty by a jury following a five-day trial of one count of health care fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1347. The guilty verdict is the result of Bennett arranging union employee health plan coverage for his girlfriend, who was never a union employee and not eligible to participate in the plan. Bennett was the LIUNA Chief of Staff for approximately four years until October 2016. The current conviction is in addition to Bennett’s January 2018 guilty plea to three counts of theft from a labor organization stemming from his unauthorized personal purchases – exceeding $150,000 – on his LIUNA-issued credit card.
In California, Aja Jasmin, former President of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 350-C, was sentenced to 28 months of imprisonment and three years of supervised release. She was ordered to pay $185,000 in restitution and a $25 special assessment. On October 30, 2020, Jasmin pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud.
In New York, Andrew Brown, Benefits Coordinator for the Law Enforcement Employees Benevolent Association (LEEBA), was charged by indictment with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud of $500,000 and one count of wire fraud.
In New York, Donald Snyder, former President of International Association of EMTs and Paramedics (IAEP), affiliated with National Association of Government Employees (NAGE) Local R2-394, pleaded guilty to one count of embezzlement of union funds in the amount of $94,649.