Washington Staffer Admits $15,600 Embezzlement

Geri E. Abbe, ex-office secretary for Ass’n of Western Pulp & Paper Workers Local 5 in Camas, Wash., pled guilty Mar. 22 to one count of embezzling $15,690.80 in union funds. The U.S. Atty.’s Office in Tacoma brought the charges on Feb. 22. The case has been assigned to U.S. Dist. Judge Franklin D. Burgess (W.D. Wash., Clinton).

According to the plea agreement, between Feb. 1998 and June 2001, Abbe was Local 5’s office secretary, and her duties included filling out payroll vouchers.  On 16 occasions she embezzled funds through bogus payroll  claims. For example, on Feb. 18, 1998, she submitted a payroll voucher in which sought pay for 70 hours of work during the one-week period ending on that date. However, in truth, she worked only 35 hours during that period. After securing an offical’s signature, Abbe issued the fraudulent check to herself. She embezzled $14,245 via this scheme.

Additionally, on Apr. 26, 1999, without authorization, Abbe gave herself a one-cent per hour raise, and on Apr. 3, 2000, without authorization, she gave herself a three percent raise. As a result, between Apr. 26, 1999 and June 1, 2001 (when she was fired) Local 5 paid her $1,445.80 to which she was not entitled.  She confessed to these embezzlement schemes when an agent for the Dep’t of Labor’s Office of Labor-Mgmt. Standards, Dan Lavik, interviewed her on Oct. 24, 2001.  The plea agreement states that Abbe must make full restitution immediately. [USAO W.D. Wash. 3/22/02; DOL 3/22/02]

New York Boss Sentenced for Wire Fraud
U.S. Dist. Judge William H. Pauley III (S.D.N.Y., Clinton) sentenced ex-treasurer of the NYPD’s Detectives Endowment Ass’n Stephen E. Gardell Mar. 18 to a year and a day on a federal wire fraud charge. He allegedly leaked law enforcement secrets to the mob and in exchange his mob friends built an $8,000 swimming pool at his home, comped him at a casino, and gave him a fur coat for his wife, according to prosecutors.

Gardell quietly pled guilty to the fraud charge after being linked to a sweeping case of mob stock ripoffs and crooked brokers. Federal prosecutors in Manhattan had first charged Gardell with conspiring to move pension investments into a crooked mob-backed financial firm in exchange for a big payoff. The scheme was caught before any pension money was touched. Gardell was arrested in June 2000 along with 119 others in the pump-and-dump stock scheme. Weeks before his arrest, he put in for retirement and left with an $80,000-a-year pension.

Gardell asked that he be sentenced to home confinement so he could care for his ailing 87-year-old mother. In turning him down, Pauley said, “You violated the most sacred trust, a trust that is reposed in you by the community [and] by all law enforcement personnel.” [Daily News (N.Y.) 3/19/02]