Underlying of lot of union embezzlement these days are hard-luck gambling stories. It’s a depressing scenario: A union officer or employee loses his shirt at a casino(s), and tries to cover the losses by writing phony checks, diverting union funds into a secret account, or pulling off some other scheme. Add Michael Iasevoli, an official with a Connecticut local of the Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical and Energy Workers International Union (PACE), which merged last year with the United Steelworkers, to the list. Iasevoli, 40, a resident of Waterbury and acting financial secretary for PACE Local 745, was sentenced on September 19 in U.S. District Court in New Haven to 24 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release. He had pleaded guilty in June to one count of embezzling assets from the Wallingford, Conn.-based union.
Court documents and statements reveal that Iasevoli on or about November 28, 2000 established a bank account in the name of the union at Webster Bank. He was the sole signatory on the account and did not inform any other Local 745 official of its existence. He deposited $147,985 in union dues checks plus some of his own money into the account. In his guilty plea, Iasevoli admitted that between November 2000 and June 2004 he embezzled roughly $138,000 from the union to make good on gambling losses. He’d made several hundred withdrawals from the secret account at locations around the U.S., including the Global Casino in Las Vegas and, closer to home, the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut. In addition to doing time, Iasevoli will have to make full restitution to his local. “Individuals who have a gambling problem are strongly encouraged to seek counseling before resorting to crime,” said U.S. Attorney Kevin J. O’Connor. “This office is committed to vigorously prosecuting union officials who steal from their dues-paying members.” (States News Service, 9/19/06).