U.S. Department of Labor Investigation Results in Former Union Trustee Admitting to Causing False Entry for Expense Reimbursements
CHICAGO, IL – After an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), a U.S. District Court in Chicago has sentenced Robert Melko, a former trustee of the Trust Fund for Apprentice & Journeyman Education &Training, Local 130 U.A., to six months of probation and 60 hours of community service after he pleaded guilty to willfully causing a false entry in books, records, reports, and statements in violation of Title 29 U.S. Code Section 439(c).
Melko admitted in a written plea agreement entered before Magistrate Judge Daniel G. Martin in Chicago on Oct. 30, 2017, that between 2008 and 2011 he submitted false reimbursement requests for expenses incurred in connection with training events. Melko also admitted that another union training fund directly paid for the same expenses that Melko submitted. By submitting these false requests for reimbursement, he caused the international plumbers’ union training fund to make false entries in its books and records. In his plea, Melko admitted that the amount owed to the training fund totaled $12,000.
“The prosecution of false entries supports the U.S. Department of Labor’s mission to protect the rights of America’s workers,” said Jeffrey A. Monhart, Chicago EBSA Regional Director. “EBSA will continue to aggressively investigate such crimes on behalf of workers nationwide.”
Melko’s conviction will prohibit him from serving in any capacity relating to any employee benefit plans under ERISA jurisdiction. This prohibition is for a period of 13 years after conviction, or after the end of his incarceration, whichever is later.
The U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois prosecuted the case. The Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General partnered with EBSA on the criminal investigation.
Employers and workers can reach EBSA toll-free at 866-444-3272 for help with problems related to private sector retirement and health plans. Additional information can be found at http://www.dol.gov/ebsa.