Buffalo-Area Transit Local Treasurer Charged with Embezzlement

Thomas Pokrywczynski had a more than six-year run of theft until his luck ran out. Now he’s preparing to pay the price. On August 21, Pokrywczynski, formerly secretary-treasurer of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1342 and treasurer of the ATU’s New York State Legislative Conference Board, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York for embezzling $277,548.72 from the two labor organizations. The case follows a probe by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Prosecutors say that during January 2002-March 2008 Pokrywczynski embezzled more than $70,000 from the West Seneca, N.Y.-based Local 1342, which represents over 1,000 employees of the Niagara Frontier Transit Authority, plus more than $200,000 from the ATU state conference board. Following an internal audit showing extensive cash shortfalls, he was removed from the union in March 2008. Local President Vincent Crehan then reported the offenses to the U.S. Department of Labor. The union does not believe other members were involved in the disappearance of the funds, since recovered through a posting of bond.