Graphic Communications/Teamster Officials in Orange County Plead Guilty

teamsters-logoRyan Sherard and Fred Correll might consider themselves lucky that they weren’t prosecuted for stealing a lot more. On April 23, Sherard, former president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters’ Graphic Communications Conference, District Council 2, pleaded guilty in Santa Ana, Calif. federal court to one count of concealing $9,635 in income in the financial records of the Fullerton-based union. Six days earlier, on April 17, Correll, former council secretary-treasurer, had pleaded guilty to embezzling $10,000 from the union in 2009. Back in February, each had waived his right to a grand jury, and agreed to plea guilty. Sentencing is scheduled for August 4.

District Council 2 represents roughly 9,000 printing and paper trade workers in Southern California. Fred Correll, 79, had been secretary-treasurer of Graphic Communications Conference District 2 since 1972. Ryan Sherard, 43, who is Correll’s son-in-law, had served as president since 2001. It turned out to be a corrupt reign. During 2005-11, notes current union leadership in a civil lawsuit, the two diverted at least $1 million in council funds for an “extravagant spending spree.” Much of the money allegedly went for luxury hotel stays, lavish restaurant meals, limousine rides and family gatherings disguised as office parties. An internal audit by the Teamsters international union led to a joint criminal probe by the IRS and the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards, Office of Inspector General and Employee Benefits Security Administration, in turn triggering the resignation of Correll and Sherard in February 2011. As neither defendant has a prior criminal history, prosecutors have agreed to recommend the lightest sentences available.