An union investment manager accused of stealing $314,000 from a laborers union pension fund — by concealing commissions he made on stock and bond trades — will now face a federal jury four years after his indictment. Anthony DiPace’s embezzlement and wire-fraud trial begins Sept. 14 in Albany before U.S. Dist. Judge Thomas McAvoy (N.D., NY, Reagan). The trial follows two failed requests to dismiss the charges in both U.S. Dist. Court and the 2nd Circ. Ct. of Appeals in Manhattan.
DiPace managed the health and welfare plan for the Laborers Intl. Union of N. America Local 190 from 1988 to 1996. DiPace allegedly executed a series of trades through his private brokerage practice, Direction Planning on New Karner Road. He is accused of collecting commissions on the trades without the fund’s trustees’ knowledge, violating federal pension rules that bar investment managers from acting as brokers in order to avoid potential conflicts of interest.
Union trustees paid DiPace to manage the fund based on a formula they had established. But he allegedly executed the trades as a registered representative of Linsco Private Ledger, a national brokerage firm, even though the company does not allow brokers to have discretionary accounts. A conference to discuss a plea deal was sidelined Sept. 9 before Judge McAvoy, after no agreement could be reached. “Mr. DiPace is maintaining his innocence,” said the accused man’s fifth attorney, Fred Rench, of Clifton Park. “We should be picking a jury on Tuesday.”
Pension fund beneficiary Debbie Brady said no deal would be good enough for the man she said stole benefits from the neediest of people in the 1,200-member organization. DiPace can only redeem himself, in her eyes, by telling if anyone else was involved, she added: “It’s hard to believe he did this alone.” Local 190 officials did not return phone calls for comment.
DiPace was also convicted in 2000 of 11 counts of wire fraud in Hawaii for misrepresenting himself to two Honolulu money managers. In that case he was sentenced to five years in prison and ordered to make $30,000 in restitution. He began serving that time in early 2001, according to published reports. [Albany Times-Union, 9/9/04]