Charles Wiener was supposed to be managing the health fund of Local 16 of the United Service Workers of America. It took several years before people realized that he’d been draining it. Wiener, 69, who had served as president of the Sussex County, N.J.-based local during December 1996-December 1999, pleaded guilty in federal court on Friday, April 21 to conspiring to embezzlement. He and two others had been indicted in February 2005 on charges of stealing $284,000 from the local. Charles W. Cart, 56, a former local president who also had been chairman of the county Democratic Party, faces trial this May; Marvin Raphael, 63, had pleaded guilty two days earlier, on April 19, to conspiracy to embezzle union funds.
Wiener, like Raphael, lives in Boca Raton, Fla. He admitted that he received up to $11,500 a month for phony consulting services. Raphael, owner of a Boca Raton consulting company, Marvin & Tedi Inc., likewise admitted to accepting a monthly fee of up to $7,000 for a bogus contract, and that he shared the proceeds with Cart by giving him a $42,000 discount on the sale of a Florida condominium in October 2000. Wiener and Raphael each face up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and an order to repay $144,000 when they come up for sentencing in August before U.S. District Judge Dennis M. Cavanaugh. The scam was something of a family affair; Cart is Wiener’s stepson.
Life has been going less than smoothly at Local 16, which represents factory workers, auto mechanics, salespersons and other employees. Cart, like Wiener, had been president of the local. A successor, Susan Donato, 47, now living in St. Cloud, Fla., had pleaded guilty back in January 2005 to conspiracy, and is now cooperating with federal investigators. (Associated Press, 4/21/06).