U.S. Labor Department's Office Of Labor-Management Standards Obtains 900th Criminal Conviction For The Decade

                               Washington, DC  (CompNewsNetwork) - The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) today announced its criminal enforcement data for September 2008. During the month, OLMS obtained three convictions, seven indictments and court orders of restitution totaling more than $80,000. The office's totals for fiscal year 2008 (which ended on Sept. 30, 2008) are 102 convictions and 130 indictments, with restitution of more than $3.2 million. The bulk of the cases involved the embezzlement of union funds.

"The triple-digit numbers of indictments and convictions obtained by OLMS in the 2008 fiscal year demonstrates that criminal activity in unions is still a major problem. This problem points to the critical role performed by OLMS in prosecuting those who steal from their members," said Deputy Assistant Secretary for Labor-Management Standards Don Todd. "We are proud to have secured court orders of restitution of more than $91.5 million since 2001."

OLMS is the federal law enforcement agency responsible for administering most provisions of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 (LMRDA). The agency's criminal enforcement program includes investigations of embezzlement from labor organizations, extortionate picketing, deprivation of union members' rights by force or violence, and fraud in union officer elections. The agency's civil program receives and publicly discloses unions' annual financial reports, conducts compliance audits of labor unions and seeks civil remedies for violations of officer election procedures. In certain cases, OLMS also conducts joint investigations with other Labor Department agencies, including the Employee Benefits Security Administration and the Office of Inspector General, as well as other law enforcement agencies including the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

OLMS' public disclosure Web site at www.unionreports.gov contains union annual financial reports and additional reports required to be filed under the LMRDA as well as copies of collective bargaining agreements. Other information, including synopses of OLMS enforcement actions, is available at www.olms.dol.gov.

A listing of selected OLMS enforcement actions during September 2008 accompanies this release. An indictment is the method by which a person is charged with criminal activity. As in all criminal cases, each defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Criminal charges and indictments noted in these materials are accusations only.

Selected Enforcement Actions in September 2008:
Former Steelworkers Local 1124 President Pleads Guilty to Embezzling More Than $15,000 in Union Funds
On Sept. 30, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Kenneth Saltz Jr., former president of Steelworkers Local 1124 (located in Massillon, Ohio), pleaded guilty to one count of embezzling union funds in the amount of $15,809. On Aug. 19, Saltz was charged with embezzling union funds in the same amount and making false entries in union records. The plea follows an investigation by the OLMS Cleveland District Office.

Former Bricklayer's Local 7 President Charged with Forgery and Theft
On Sept. 23, in the Circuit Court of Rock County, Wis., Jeffrey Granberg, former president of Bricklayer and Allied Craftworkers Local 7 (located in Janesville, Wis.), was charged with one count of felony forgery and one count of theft of less than $2,500. The charges follow an investigation by the OLMS Milwaukee District Office.

Former Ironworkers Local 594 Officers Plead Guilty to Embezzling Union Funds
On Sept. 23, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Scott Gehringer and Alex Margaritis, former president and secretary-treasurer, respectively, of IronWorkers Local 594 (located in Hellertown, Pa.) pleaded guilty to one count of embezzling union funds and one count of aiding and abetting in the embezzlement of union funds. Gehringer embezzled union funds in the amount of $3,050.00 and Margaritis embezzled union funds in the amount of $13,320.79. The pleas follow an investigation by the OLMS Philadelphia District Office.

Former Glass Molders Local 285 President Pleads Guilty to Embezzling Union Funds
On Sept. 18, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, Jeanette McFarland, former president of Glass Molders and Plastics Union Local 285 (located in Fort Wayne, Ind.) pleaded guilty to embezzling union funds in the amount of $7,604. On March 26, McFarland was charged with embezzling union funds in the same amount. The plea follows an investigation by the OLMS Chicago District Office.

Former BLE Division 1 Officer Charged with Embezzling More Than $18,000 in Union Funds
On Sept. 16, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, an information was filed charging Charles Bohanon, former secretary-treasurer of Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers Division 1 (located in Petersburg, Mich.), with one count of embezzling union funds in the amount of $18,074.23. The charge follows an investigation by the OLMS Detroit District Office.

Former UTU Local 620 Secretary-Treasurer Convicted for Embezzling More Than $48,000
On Sept. 15, 2008, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Keith H. Cook, former secretary-treasurer of United Transportation Union Local 620 (located in Chicago, Ill.), was convicted of embezzling union funds in the amount of $48,287 and willfully making false entries on union checks. On March 8, 2007, Cook was charged with one count embezzling union funds in the same amount and one count of willfully making a false entry in union records. The conviction follows a joint investigation by the OLMS Chicago District Office and the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of the Inspector General.

ILA Local 1604 President Charged with Failure to Maintain Records and False Entries
On Sept. 15, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, Frank Rago, president of International Longshoremen's Association Local 1604 (located in Boston, Mass.) was indicted with failure to maintain records and making false entries in union and Employee Retirement Income Security Act records. The indictment follows an investigation by the OLMS Boston District Office.

ILA Local 1604 Secretary-Treasurer Charged with Falsification of a Record
On Sept. 15, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, Louis Desisto, secretary-treasurer of Local 1604 (located in Boston, Mass.), was charged with falsification of a record in a federal investigation. The charge follows an investigation by the OLMS Boston District Office.

Former Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Local Officer's Spouse Sentenced for Theft and Forgery
On Sept. 15, in the Seventh District Court of Carbon County, Utah, Kathleene L. Bigham, the spouse of former Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Local 779 (located in Grand Junction, Colo.) Secretary-Treasurer Alfred Bigham, pleaded guilty to theft of union funds in the amount of $14,280 and three counts of forgery. Subsequently, Kathleene L. Bigham was ordered to pay $800 in fines and make additional restitution in the amount of $2,022.68. She previously paid restitution in the amount of $12,258. Additional sentencing will be held in abeyance for a period of two years. On June 3, an information was filed charging Bigham with theft of union funds in the same amount and three counts of forgery. The sentencing follows an investigation by the OLMS Denver District Office.

Former Steelworkers Local 430 Officer Charged with Embezzling Union Funds
On Sept. 12, in the Trial Court of Berrien County, Mich., Michael LaPorte, former secretary-treasurer of Steelworkers Local 430 (located in Niles, Mich.), was charged with embezzlement of $1,000 or more but less than $20,000. The charge follows an investigation by the OLMS Detroit District Office.

Former BCTGMI Local 482 Employee Sentenced for Embezzling More Than $17,000
On Sept. 12, in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Sheila Wright Rushing, former part-time office secretary of the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Local 482 (located in Jacksonville, Fla.), was sentenced to five years supervised release and ordered to make restitution in the amount of $19,365.09. On May 28, Rushing pleaded guilty to one count of embezzling union funds in the amount of $17,133.01. The sentencing follows a joint investigation by the OLMS Tampa Resident Investigator Office and the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of the Inspector General.

Former Delaware Rural Letter Carriers Association Secretary-Treasurer Sentenced for Embezzling More Than $58,000 in Union Funds
On Sept. 11, 2008, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, Michael A. Pingitore, former secretary-treasurer of the Delaware Rural Letter Carriers Association (Dover, Del.), was sentenced to three years probation, ordered to make restitution and pay a $600 special assessment. Pingitore previously had made restitution in the amount $58,908.38. On July 23, 2007, Pingitore pleaded guilty to six counts of embezzling union funds in the same amount. The sentencing follows a joint investigation by the OLMS Philadelphia District Office and the United States Postal Service Office of the Inspector General.

Former Boilermakers Lodge 687 Officer Indicted for Embezzling More Than $102,000 in Union Funds
On Sept. 10, in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina, Joseph Michael Johnson, former secretary-treasurer of Boilermakers Union Lodge 687 (located in Charleston Heights, S.C.), was indicted on one count of embezzling union funds in the amount of $102,519. The indictment follows an investigation by the OLMS Atlanta District Office.

Former Union Employee Pleads Guilty to Embezzling More Than $27,000 in Union Funds
On Sept. 8, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Roberta Dauch, former office secretary of the North Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council (located in Sandusky, Ohio), pleaded guilty to one count of embezzling union funds in the amount of $27,537.28. On Aug. 1, an information was filed charging Dauch with embezzling union funds in the same amount. The plea follows an investigation by the OLMS Cleveland District Office.

* Indictments and informations are the methods by which people are charged with criminal activity. As in all criminal cases, each defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Criminal charges and indictments noted in these materials are accusations only.

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