Local 808 of the International Association of Iron Workers has a generous annuity plan. Just ask Angela Deleon, its former third-party administrator who siphoned off a large portion of the money to herself and several associates. Yesterday, on April 23, five residents of Volusia County, Fla. pleaded guilty in Orlando federal court to participating in a scam engineered by Deleon that netted more than $400,000 from the plan, sponsored by the Orlando-based union. They were among nine persons charged early last month. Deleon already had been arrested more than a year ago; she eventually pleaded guilty and received a two-year prison sentence and a restitution order. None of the additional defendants are union members or benefit plan participants. Each faces up to five years in prison.
Angela Deleon, now 49, a resident of Deltona, Fla., worked for Advanced Administration Inc., an Orlando company which had a contract with Ironworkers Local 808 to manage its annuity plan. She was responsible for processing payment applications, paying fund expenses, and communicating with beneficiaries. Unfortunately, she used her position as an opportunity to pay for her drug habit and generate extra cash on the side. According to prosecutors, Deleon over a 14-month period wrote 46 unauthorized checks from the fund totaling a little over $427,000 to nine Florida residents not affiliated with the union. These persons – Brandon Alfonso, James McCall, Marta Blackmer, Phillip Simmons, Ian Chase Dove and Jason Ferrari (Orange City); Jason Wesson and Michael Giesinger (Deltona); and Shane Riley (Deland) – were Deleon’s drug suppliers or several others she knew. She wrote checks to these individuals, who in turn cashed them and provided her with a share of the proceeds.
In time, the union discovered the books weren’t adding up. It contacted the U.S. Department of Labor and requested a full review. The department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards, Office of Inspector General, and Employee Benefits Security Administration, in response, initiated a joint probe in December 2011. Deleon would be arrested in March 2013. She eventually pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to two years in federal prison and ordered to pay the annuity fund $594,000 in restitution, a sum representing stolen money and internal auditing costs. It only was a matter of time before other dominoes fell. On March 6, federal prosecutors announced the indictments of nine additional defendants. And yesterday five of them – Dove, Giesinger, McCall, Riley and Wesson – pleaded guilty. Three others – Alfonso, Blackmer and Simmons – are scheduled to go on trial in June. The remaining suspect, Ferrari, hasn’t been arrested yet. Ironworkers Local 808 beneficiaries right now are focused mainly on the missing money.