U.S. Dist. Judge Dickinson R. Debevoise (D.N.J., Carter) sentenced ex-union boss Victor Garcia, Sr., to 51 months in prison for taking $210,000 in kickbacks from a contractor renovating the Newark headquarters of Am. Fed’n of State, County & Mun. Employees Dist. 1199-J (a.k.a., Nat’l Union of Hosp. & Health Care Employees). The contractor earned $6 million for the job. A jury convicted him on conspiracy charges Sept. 28, 2000.
Debevoise also sentenced Garcia to 3 years on probation and ordered him to pay $100,000 in restitution to the union’s pension fund. Debevoise waived a fine, noting that Garcia, was unable to pay. “There is little that is worse than taking money from workers,” Debevoise said. “To take what little they have is inexcusable.”
Contractor Gregory Skuraton, who cooperated with prosecutors, testified that he made cash payments to Garcia. Skuraton pled guilty to his role in the kickback scheme, which ran from 1994-97. In Feb., Skuraton was sentenced to probation for 5 years.
Garcia’s son, Victor Jr., also was convicted and also pled guilty to a separate embezzlement scheme involving the union. He was convicted with his father of one conspiracy count and acquitted of four other charges. He is awaiting sentencing. The ex-asst. executive director of the union’s pension fund, he pled guilty in July to conspiring to embezzle more than $70,000 in cash from Danilo I. Medina, an owner of a printing company who received work from the union. Medina, who cooperated with prosecutors, pled guilty to his role in the scheme on Sept. 25 and is awaiting sentencing.
According to the Oct. 13, 1999 indictment against the Garcias allegedly received jewelry and other gifts and about $25,000 in free improvements to their homes. Jewelry included watches, rings and earrings. Home repairs included carpeting, mirrors, landscaping, roofing and driveway repaving. Both also allegedly received repairs for their cars. [Bloomberg News 11/26/01; USAO D.N.J. 9/28/00, 10/20/99]