On July 18, Bernard Scheller, ex-secretary-treasurer for Communications Workers Local 14448, was sentenced in federal court to six months in a halfway house, to be followed by two years of supervised release and 100 hours of community service, for embezzlement. Scheller in May pleaded guilty to stealing $7,250 in union funds. The plea and sentence resulted from an investigation by the OLMS Cincinnati District Office. (OLMS, 8/6).
Ex-N.H. Business Manager Indicted for Embezzlement
A former business manager for a Laborers International Union of North America local in New Hampshire was indicted on charges of embezzling more than $150,000. The U.S. Attorney’s Office on August 10 announced its prosecution of Thomas Brewster, 54, for stealing from the Portsmouth local during the period May 17, 2003 to December 27, 2004. If convicted, Brewster faces a maximum prison term of five years and a fine of $10,000. The indictment did not specify the number of the local. (Associated Press, 8/11).
Another Niagara Falls, N.Y. Defendant Cops a Plea
A sixth domino in the thuggish LIUNA Local 91 has fallen. On July 20, Andrew Tomascik, 39, pleaded guilty to felony racketeering conspiracy in U.S. District Court. Tomascik admitted he participated in the extortion of non-union workers at a Niagara Falls water treatment plant in 1997, following employees from the site and putting locks on gates to keep them from entering or leaving. Sentencing is scheduled for November 30. If the court follows advisory sentencing guidelines, Tomascik faces at least 46 months in prison. Under the terms of the bargain, however, he will not be required to testify against five other Local 91 defendants in their upcoming trial next month. (Buffalo News, 7/22).
Ex-Secretary in Illinois Indicted for Embezzlement
On July 28, Donald Hutchinson, former financial secretary for Local 763-C of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), was indicted in U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, on one count of embezzling $105,976 in union funds. He also was indicted on five counts of Labor Department reporting and recordkeeping violations. The indictments follow an investigation by the OLMS Chicago District Office. (OLMS, 8/6).
Milwaukee Secretary-Treasurer Pleads Guilty
On July 11, Michael C. Crogan, former secretary-treasurer for Local 1382 of the United Transportation Union, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin, to embezzling $31,700 in union funds. (OLMS, 8/6).
Former Secretary-Treasurer in Kansas Sentenced
On August 1, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced that Daniel Van Becelaere, ex-secretary treasurer for UTU Local 763, was sentenced in U.S. District Court to 15 months in prison for embezzling more than $36,000 from the union. He also will have to make restitution. The Pittsburg, Kan.-based Van Becelaere had issued 180 unauthorized local checks to himself during March 2000-April 2002. He pleaded guilty back in May. (Associated Press, 8/2).
Tampa-Area Ex-Bookkeeper Indicted for Embezzlement
On July 28, Donald Dixon, former bookkeeper-treasurer for Local 623, International Association of Theatrical Stage Employees, was indicted in U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida, on six counts of embezzlement totaling nearly $6,400. The indictment follows a Labor Department investigation. (OLMS, 8/6).