Michael Daher, Sr., ex-investment manager to Int’l Longshoremen’s Ass’n Local 1969 in Ind., pled guilty May 18 to embezzlement from an employee benefit plant and wire fraud. Daher and an unnamed accomplice embezzled approximately $1.5 million from Local 1969’s benefit plan from 1993-96. The scheme include convincing the plan’s trustees to invest more than $4 million in the construction of a Nev. housing project. The trustees were reportedly unaware that Daher and the accomplice had entered into a side agreement with the developer who agreed to pay them “points” for every investment dollar brought to the project. The case was a joint investigation by Dep’t of Labor’s Office of the Inspector Gen. and Pension & Welfare Benefits Admin. [DOL, OIG, Interim Report, July 2001]
Ex-Buffalo Boss Charged with Insurance Scam
On Sept. 13, the FBI arrested and accused Frank “Butchie Bifocals” Bifulco, described as a organized crime figure, of torching an associate’s car in an insurance scam. Bifulco, who has long been accused by the FBI of being an organized crime member, was ousted in 1998 from his job as administrator of a Laborers’ Int’l Union of N. Am. Local 210 pension fund in Buffalo. LIUNA removed Bifulco because of allegations of mob ties; however, illustrating a significant shortcoming of internal-union cleanup efforts, Bifulco was never charged nor locked up. Had the Dep’t of Justice and a federal judge been more involved in the LIUNA clean-up, Bifulco may have not been free to perpetrate this alleged crime.
The U.S. Atty.’s Office alleged Sept. 14 that Bifulco helped his associate set fire to a rented car on the night of Aug. 22 in a shopping mall parking lot. In court papers, Special Agent Thomas M. Thurston said Bifulco attempted to persuade the man who rented the car to give police false information about the crime. [Buffalo News 9/15/01]