Kenneth Aurecchia is a fairly lucky man. And his union brothers might be inclined to agree. On May 31, Aurecchia, a former vice president of the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters and former business manager of the East Providence, R.I.-based Plumbers Local 51, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island to six months home confinement, three months of probation and 150 hours of community service for acts of fraud and tax evasion totaling about $125,000 over a four-year period. He also was ordered to pay a $40,000 fine following his payment of $107,515 in restitution prior to sentencing. Aurecchia, who pleaded guilty in January, had faced up to 23 years in prison and a $350,000 fine.
Union Corruption Update in February summarized the details of the story. Aurecchia, a resident of Johnston, R.I., wore any number of hats as a local and regional official with the Plumbers union. Unfortunately, during roughly February 2004-March 2008, through various means and on numerous occasions, he double-billed his union for conferences and other union functions. In addition, said prosecutors, he evaded nearly $18,000 in federal taxes for part of that time. Inconsistencies in union financial reporting forms triggered a joint investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards, Office of Inspector General and Employee Benefits Security Administration, plus the IRS. The Justice Department eventually prosecuted the case.