Ex-WI Bus. Mgr. Confesses to $135K Embezzlement

Michael E. Koehler pled guilty on Nov. 8 to using funds from the union of which he was the only full-time officer for his personal use and entertainment.

From 1980 until his defeat in a 2001 election, Koehler was Fin. Secy. and Bus. Mgr. of Local 965 of the Intl. Bhd. of Electrical Wrkrs. In Oct. 1997, Koehler began submitting false claims for reimbursement for money he claimed to have given to grieving families at members’ funerals, gas mileage and meal expenses he never incurred, and overtime he never worked. Before that, Koehler had regularly claimed his tee time at the Portage Country Club as union business since 1989. The $135,200 Koehler stole from the union made him Wisconsin’s highest paid union official.

Fed. Judge Barbara Crabb (U.S.D.C. W.D. WI, Carter) will sentence Koehler on Feb. 4, 2003. [Capital Times, Wisconsin State Journal 11/9/02]

Capital Consultants Pension Scandal Nets Another Conviction in Portland
Dennis Talbott became the 9th person convicted in the scandal of Capital Consultants, a Portland, Ore., money management firm that bribed union officials to steer pension investments in their direction, then lost $350 million of those funds when it collapsed in 2000.

Talbott pled guilty on Nov. 18 to accepting illegal gratuities from Capital salesman Dean Kirkland, whose trial on 20 counts of illegal kickbacks is scheduled for March. In return for several hunting trips to western ranches and lodges, as well as one to Chicago, Talbott admitted steering $1 million of the Cleveland Sheet Metal Wrkrs. Pension Plan to Capital, along with $400,000 from the Tri-County Bldg. Trades Health Fund. Talbott agreed to testify against Kirkland, and prosecutors with the U.S. Attny. for the Dist. of Ore. recommended that Talbott receive no jail time. [The Oregonian 11/19/02]

Ex-Pa. Bus. Agent Confesses to Embezzling from Strike Fund
John L. Dorrier, Jr. pled guilty on Nov. 14 to falsifying, then cashing, nearly 1,000 vouchers for supposed picketing. He also pled guilty to tax evasion by hiding these payments from the I.R.S.

Beginning in 1993, the frmr. business agent for Operating Engineers Local Union 66, in Monroeville, Penn., prepared expense vouchers for individuals who had done no picketing, then insisted on collecting the checks personally rather than having them mailed. Dorrier then forged the payees’ signatures on the endorsement lines, and either cashed or deposited them into his account. To hide these payments from the IRS, Dorrier allegedly kept records of his fictitious picketers, and limited the amount “paid” to under $600 to avoid triggering the filing of 1099 tax forms. He also paid cash to relatives and friends that went unreported to the IRS. When some of the “picketers” began receiving 1099 tax forms, Dorrier paid them not to report the problem to the IRS.

As part of the plea agreement, Dorrier agreed to repay the $56,195 that he kept for his own purposes from 1992 to Nov. 1998. He pled guilty to one count of union embezzlement, one count of forgery, and one count of tax evasion. He is scheduled to be sentenced by Sr. Fed. Judge William Standish (U.S.D.C. W.D. PA, Reagan) on Feb. 20. [U.S.A.O. W. D. PA  11/14/02]