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2021 Criminal Enforcement Actions


An indictment is a formal accusation or charge based on a finding by a Grand Jury that it is likely that the person charged committed the criminal offense described in the indictment and is the means by which an accused person (defendant) is brought to trial. An indictment raises no inference of guilt. As in all criminal cases, each defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

An information is a formal accusation of a crime by a government attorney rather than a Grand Jury.  An information raises no inference of guilt. As in all criminal cases, each defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

A charge is an accusation of criminal activity and raises no inference of guilt. As in all criminal cases, each defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Each count is a separate and distinct offense charged in an indictment or information.

A guilty plea is a defendant’s admission to the court that he or she committed the offense charged and an agreement to waive the right to a trial.

A conviction is a judgment based on a jury’s verdict, judge’s finding, or the defendant’s admission that the defendant is guilty of the crime charged.

A sentence is a judicial determination of the punishment to be imposed on an individual who has plead guilty or has been convicted by a jury or judge of a criminal offense.

 


 

On April 28, 2021, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, Salvatore Tagliaferro, former President of Carpenters Local 926 (located in Brooklyn, N.Y.) and a former New York City District Council of Carpenters Representative, was found guilty following a five-day trial on all charges relating to a scheme to sell union “books” or membership cards(union property) for cash bribes. Specifically, Tagliaferro was found guilty of conversion of union assets (29 U.S.C. 501(c)), honest services wire fraud (18 U.S.C. 1346 and 1343), aiding and abetting (18 U.S.C. 2) both the conversion of union assets and the honest services wire fraud, as well as conspiracy (18 U.S.C. 371). The verdict follows a joint investigation by the OLMS New York District Office, the Public Corruption Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, the Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General, and the New York City Department of Investigation.

On April 22, 2021, in the United States District Court for the Central District of California, Kurt Kittleson, former Secretary-Treasurer of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 151D (located in Rancho Palos Verde, Calif.), pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement in a report required to be filed by a labor union, in violation of 29 U.S.C. 439(b). The charge follows an investigation by the OLMS Los Angeles District Office.

On April 22, 2021, in the United States District Court for the Western District of New York, Scott Merritt, former Financial Secretary of Ironworkers Local 470 (located in Jamestown, N.Y.), was charged in a one-count information with embezzlement of union funds totaling $50,850, in violation of 29 U.S.C. 501(c). He then pleaded guilty to the charge. The charge and guilty plea follow an investigation by the OLMS Boston-Buffalo District Office.

On April 21, 2021, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, Matthew Cuomo, former President of American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Local 1047 (located in Kenner, La.), was sentenced to three years of probation. He was ordered to pay $15,000 in restitution and a $100 special assessment. On September 30, 2020, Cuomo pleaded guilty to one count of forgery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 513(a). The sentencing follows an investigation by the OLMS Dallas-New Orleans District Office.

On April 20, 2021, in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, Jennifer Rogers, former member of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 2254 (located in Jersey City, N.J.), was sentenced to six months of electronically monitored home confinement and 24 months of probation. She was also ordered to pay $40,455 in restitution and a $100 special assessment. On December 1, 2020, Rogers pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting an embezzlement of union funds, in violation of 29 U.S.C. 501(c) and 18 U.S.C. 2. The sentencing follows an investigation by the OLMS New York District Office and the Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General.

On April 16, 2021, in the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, Michael Wood, former Treasurer of American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Local 3957 (located in Grant, La.), was charged in a bill of information with one count of forgery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 513(a). The charge follows an investigation by the OLMS Dallas-New Orleans District Office.

On April 13, 2021, in the United States District Court of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Joseph Whitbeck, former Vice President of National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) Branch 274 (located in Allentown, Pa.), was indicted on 10 counts of honest services wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1343 and 1346, and 10 counts of wire fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1343. The indictment follows an investigation by the OLMS Philadelphia-Pittsburgh District Office, the U.S. Postal Service’s Office of the Inspector General, and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General.

On April 13, 2021, in the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan, Hasan Zahdeh, President of Michigan Union of Healthcare Workers (MUHW), (located in Muskegon, Mich.), pleaded guilty to one count of embezzlement of union funds totaling $140,498, in violation of 29 U.S.C. 501(c). The guilty plea follows an investigation by the OLMS Minneapolis Resident Investigator Office.

On April 8, 2021, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma, Thomas Burkhart, former President of Steelworkers Local 145 (located in Sapulpa, Okla.), pleaded guilty to embezzlement of union funds in the amount of $19,900, in violation of 29 U.S.C. 501(c). The guilty plea follows an investigation by the OLMS Dallas-New Orleans District Office.

On April 6, 2021, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, Trey Huffty, former President of Steelworkers Local 1731 (located in White Hall, Ark.), was charged in a one-count information with embezzling union funds in the amount of $37,368, in violation of 29 U.S.C. 501(c). Huffty then pleaded guilty to the charge. The charge and guilty plea follow an investigation by the OLMS Dallas-New Orleans District Office.

On March 30, 2021, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, Mark Douglas, former President of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1101 (located in Arabi, La.), was sentenced to 24 months of probation. He was also ordered to pay $7,708 in restitution and a $100 special assessment. On September 17, 2019, Douglas 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.

On March 25, 2021, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma, Thomas Burkhart, former President of Steelworkers Local 145 (located in Sapulpa, Okla.), was charged in a criminal information with one count of embezzlement of union funds in the amount of $19,900, in violation of 29 U.S.C. 501(c). The charge follows an investigation by the OLMS Dallas-New Orleans District Office.

On March 25, 2021, in Circuit Court for Prince George's County, Maryland, Lamar Elliott, former President of Association of Civilian Technicians Chapter 134 (located in Clinton, Md.), was indicted on one count of theft having a value of at least $1,500 but less than $25,000 and one count of embezzlement, in violation of Sections 7-104 and 7-113 of the Maryland Criminal Code, respectively, for embezzling $19,806 from the union. The indictment follows an investigation by the OLMS Washington District Office.

On March 25, 2021, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria Division, Arthur Penn, former Chairman of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Pentagon Force Protection Agency (located in Arlington, Va.), pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1343, for embezzling $384,000 from the union. The guilty plea follows an investigation by the OLMS Washington District Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

On March 24, 2021, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, Kenneth Morris, former Treasurer of Teachers Local 2240 (located in Kentfield, Calif.), was sentenced to time served and three years of supervised release. He was also ordered to pay $101,583 in restitution and a $100 special assessment. On November 20, 2019, Morris pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud in the amount of $101,583, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1344(2). The sentencing follows an investigation by the OLMS San Francisco District Office.

On March 24, 2021, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma, Brenda G. Walters, former Secretary-Treasurer of American Postal Workers Union (APWU) Muskogee Area Local 7 (located in Muskogee, Okla.), pleaded guilty to one count of embezzlement of union funds in the amount of $95,100, in violation of 29 U.S.C. 501(c). The guilty plea follows an investigation by the OLMS Dallas-New Orleans District Office.

On March 18, 2021, in the United States District Court for the Central District of California, Kurt Kittleson, former Secretary-Treasurer of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 151D (located in Rancho Palos Verde, Calif.), was charged in a one-count information with making a false statement in a report required to be filed by a labor union, in violation of 29 U.S.C. 439(b). The charge follows an investigation by the OLMS Los Angeles District Office.

On March 12, 2021, in the United States District Court for the Central District of California, Stephen Rooze, former Secretary-Treasurer of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) Division 662 (located in Burbank, Calif.), was charged in a four-count indictment for embezzling $140,064 in union funds, in violation of 29 U.S.C. 501(c). The indictment follows an investigation by the OLMS Los Angeles District Office.

On March 10, 2021, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Rodney Priestley, former President of International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) Local 1504-8 (located in Galveston, Tex.), was indicted for embezzlement of union funds in the amount of $32,230, in violation of 29 U.S.C. 501(c). The charge follows an investigation by the OLMS Dallas-New Orleans District Office.

On March 10, 2021, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Brian Walker, former Vice President of the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) Local 1504-8 (located in Galveston, Tex.), was indicted for embezzlement of union funds in the amount of $20,001, in violation of 29 U.S.C. 501(c). The charge follows an investigation by the OLMS Dallas-New Orleans District Office.

On March 10, 2021, in the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan, Brian Rittenhouse, former Financial Secretary of United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 1320 (located in Grandville, Mich.), pleaded guilty to one count of embezzlement, in violation of 29 U.S.C. 501(c). The guilty plea follows an investigation by the OLMS Detroit-Milwaukee District Office.

On March 5, 2021, in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, County Department, Criminal Division, Milton Thomas, former shop chairman of United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 890 (located in Morton Grove, Ill.), pleaded guilty to one count of forgery, in violation of 720 ILCS 5/17-3(a)(1). He was then sentenced to two years of probation. He was also ordered to avoid contact with UAW Local 890 and Xylem Corporation, to submit to DNA indexing, and to pay a $75 fine. The guilty plea and sentencing follow an investigation by the OLMS Chicago District Office.

On March 3, 2021, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Gregory Fiocca, a member of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 98 (located in Philadelphia, Pa.), was charged in an indictment with one count of conspiracy to commit extortion (18 U.S.C. 1951(a)), 18 counts of extortion (18 U.S.C. 1951(a), (b)(2)), and aiding and abetting (18 U.S.C. 2). The charges follow an investigation by the OLMS Philadelphia-Pittsburgh Office, the Employee Benefits Security Administration, the Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

On March 3, 2021, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, John Dougherty, Business Manager of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 98 (located in Philadelphia, Pa.), was charged in an indictment with one count of conspiracy to commit extortion (18 U.S.C. 1951(a)), 18 counts of extortion (18 U.S.C. 1951(a), (b)(2)), and aiding and abetting (18 U.S.C. 2). The charges follow an investigation by the OLMS Philadelphia-Pittsburgh Office, the Employee Benefits Security Administration, the Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

On March 1, 2021, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles US LLC (FCA), located in Detroit, Mich., 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. The guilty plea follows an investigation by the OLMS Detroit-Milwaukee District Office, the Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Internal Revenue Service.

On February 25, 2021, in the United States District Court for the District of Maine, Jeffrey Phillips, former Secretary-Treasurer of International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) Local Lodge 836 (located at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine), was sentenced to two years of probation. He was also ordered to pay $57,611 in restitution, a $2,400 fine, and a $100 special assessment. On February 27, 2020, Phillips pleaded guilty to taking and carrying away personal property within the special territorial jurisdiction of the United States in the amount of $57,611, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 661. The sentencing follows an investigation by the OLMS Boston-Buffalo District Office.

On February 18, 2021, in the United States District Court for the Western District of New York, Donald Snyder, former President of International Association of EMTs and Paramedics, affiliated with the National Association of Government Employees (NAGE) Local R2-394 (located in Amherst, N.Y.), was charged in a criminal complaint with embezzlement of union funds in the amount of $94,649, false reports required to be filed by the Secretary of Labor, and false entries in union records, in violation of 29 U.S.C. 501(c), 439(b), and 439(c), respectively. The charges follow an investigation by the OLMS Boston-Buffalo District Office and the Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General.

On February 11, 2021, in the United States District Court for the Central District of California, Aja Jasmin, former President of United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 350C (located in Ontario, Calif.), pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1343, as part of a scheme to defraud and embezzle approximately $190,000 from the union. The guilty plea follows an investigation by the OLMS Los Angeles District Office and the Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General.

On February 11, 2021, in the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan, Kathryn A. Connelly, former President of National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) Branch 707 (located in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.), was sentenced to one year of probation. She was also ordered to pay a $1,000 fine and a $100 special assessment. Connelly previously paid $10,323 in restitution. On September 28, 2020, Connelly pleaded guilty to one count of embezzlement of union funds in the amount of $10,323, in violation of 29 U.S.C. 501(c). The sentencing follows an investigation by the OLMS Minneapolis Resident Investigator Office and the U.S. Postal Service’s Office of the Inspector General.

On February 1, 2021, in the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina, John Sammons, former President of American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Local 1872 (located in Shaw AFB, S.C.), was sentenced to three years of supervised probation, including six months of home incarceration, and he was ordered to pay a $5,500 fine. Sammons previously paid $17,261 in restitution. On February 28, 2020, Sammons pleaded guilty to one count of theft, in excess of $1,000, within a special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 661. The sentencing follows an investigation by the OLMS Atlanta-Nashville District Office.

On January 29, 2021, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Edward C. Davis, Jr., former Secretary-Treasurer of Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) Division 620 (located in Fort Worth, Tex.), was sentenced to six months of confinement and three years of supervised release. He was also ordered to pay $61,386 in restitution. On September 16, 2020, Davis pleaded guilty to 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.

On January 28, 2021, in the United States District Court of New Jersey, Dorothy McBride, former President and Fund Administrator of Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 81427 (located in Montville, N.J.), was charged in a criminal complaint with one count of embezzlement of labor union assets in the amount of $100,000 and one count of embezzlement from an employee benefit plan in the amount of $534,470, in violation of 29 U.S.C. 501(c) and 18 U.S.C. 664, respectively. The charges follow an investigation by the OLMS New York District Office, the Employee Benefits Security Administration, and the Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General.

On January 27, 2021, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Edward “Nick” Robinson, former President of the United Auto Workers (UAW) Midwest CAP Council (located in Louis, Mo.), was sentenced to one year in prison and one year of supervised release. He was also ordered to pay a $200 special assessment. Restitution will be determined at a later date. On March 2, 2020, Robinson pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to embezzle approximately $1,500,000 in union funds, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 371 and 29 U.S.C. 501(c), by submitting fraudulent vouchers to the UAW that misrepresented the destination and purpose of the expenses and by using unauthorized checks to divert funds from the UAW Midwest CAP. Robinson also pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 371, for failing to report over $1,500,000 in income on the IRS Form 990 returns filed by the UAW and UAW Midwest CAP and for failing to report the income on his Form 1040 tax returns filed with the Internal Revenue Service. The sentencing follows an investigation by the OLMS Detroit-Milwaukee District Office, the Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Internal Revenue Service.

On January 27, 2021, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles US LLC (FCA), located in Detroit, Mich., was charged in an information with one count of conspiracy to violate the Labor Management Relations Act (LMRA), in violation of 18 U.S.C. 371. FCA was charged with knowingly joining 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), also 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. The charge follows an investigation by the OLMS Detroit-Milwaukee District Office, the Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Internal Revenue Service.

On January 21, 2021, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Donald “Gus” Dougherty, owner and operator of Dougherty Electric, Inc., an employer of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 98 (located in Philadelphia, Pa.), pleaded guilty to one count of making and subscribing to false federal income tax returns, in violation of 26 U.S.C. 7206(1), and one count of theft from employee benefit plans, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 664. The guilty plea follows an investigation by the OLMS Philadelphia-Pittsburgh Office, the Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General, the Employee Benefits Security Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Internal Revenue Service.

On January 12, 2021, in the Jefferson Parish 24th Judicial District Court, Damion Young, former President of American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Local 1047 (located in Kenner, La.), was charged one count of felony theft greater than $4,999.99 but less than $25,000, in violation of LA R.S. 14:67.B(2). The charge follows an investigation by the OLMS Dallas-New Orleans District Office.

On January 12, 2021, in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, Linda Rogers, former Secretary-Treasurer of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 2254 (located in Jersey City, N.J.), pleaded guilty to count one of embezzlement of union funds, in violation of 29 U.S.C. 501(c). Between July 2016 and August 2017, Rogers’ daughter Jennifer Rogers, former member of AFSCME Local 2254, illegally wrote 111 checks to Linda Rogers and deposited them into their joint checking and savings account. Linda Rogers also wire transferred union funds from the union’s savings account to her personal credit card. The total loss to the union was approximately $40,455. The guilty plea follows an investigation by the OLMS New York District Office and the Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General.

On January 12, 2021, in the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan, Brian Rittenhouse, former Financial Secretary of United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 1320 (located in Grandville, Mich.), was indicted with one count of embezzlement and one count of false entry in a record required to be kept by a labor organization, in violation of 29 U.S.C. 501(c) and 29 U.S.C. 439(c), respectively. The charges follow an investigation by the OLMS Detroit-Milwaukee District Office.

On January 6, 2021, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, Scott E. Rodgers, President of National Postal Mail Handlers Union (NPMHU) Local 314 (located in St. Louis, Mo.), was charged with one count of embezzlement and theft of labor union assets, totaling $80,765, in violation of 29 U.S.C. 501(c). The charge follows an investigation by the OLMS Denver-St. Louis District Office and the United States Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General.

On January 5, 2021, in the United States District Court for the Central District Court of California, John S. Romero, former President of United Industrial Service Workers of America (UISWA), located in Colton, Calif., was sentenced to 12 years of imprisonment and three years of supervised release, and he was ordered to pay a $1,400 special assessment. Romero was also ordered to pay restitution in an amount to be determined at a later hearing. On February 12, 2020, after a six-day trial, a jury found Romero guilty of one count of conspiracy (18. U.S.C. 371), 12 counts of theft of approximately $800,000 in connection with health care (18 U.S.C. 669), and one count of filing a false financial report with the Department of Labor, in which he failed to properly report the existence of more than $100,00 in receipts and disbursements (18 U.S.C. 1001). The sentencing follows an investigation conducted by the OLMS Los Angeles District Office, the Employee Benefits Security Administration, and the Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General.

On January 5, 2021, in the District Court of Inglewood, California, Vida Sloan, former Treasurer of National Postal Mail Handlers Union (NPMHU) Local 303 (located in Los Angeles, Calif.), was charged with one count of grand theft in the amount of $10,039, in violation of California Penal Code Section 487(A). The charge follows an investigation by the OLMS Los Angeles District Office and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

On January 5, 2021, in the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan, Hasan Zahdeh, President of Michigan Union of Healthcare Workers (MUHW), located in Muskegon, Mich., was indicted for embezzlement of union funds, in violation of 29 U.S.C. 501(c). The indictment includes a forfeiture allegation pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 981(a)(1)(C), 18 U.S.C. 982(b)(1), and 28 U.S.C. 2461(c). On December 11, 2020, a criminal complaint, along with an arrest warrant, was filed against Zahdeh alleging an embezzlement of union funds of at least $15,640. The indictment follows an investigation by the OLMS Minneapolis Resident Office.

 

 

Last Updated: 5-05-21