Buffalo Public Employees Officials Plead Guilty to Thefts

School busBetty Martin and Duane Rush saw their union as an open cash register. Now their case is closed. On June 5, Martin and Rush, respectively, the former president and vice president of the Transportation Aides of Buffalo, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York to bank fraud. The pair had stolen a combined more than $120,000 in funds from the Buffalo-based labor organization, which represents school bus aides employed by the City of Buffalo. The actions follow a joint investigation by the FBI and the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Inspector General.

Martin, 54, and Rush, 44, each a resident of Buffalo, served at their union posts during 2006-13. During much of that time, say prosecutors, they also enriched themselves by embezzling member dues. Martin stole $61,746, and Rush stole $59,683, through unauthorized debit card usage, cash withdrawals and checks from the union bank account. Sentencing is scheduled for September 21.