Juan Carlos Recinos had quite a scam going. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to hide it for very long. On March 3, Recinos, business manager and secretary-treasurer for International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers Local 201, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on seven counts of taking $18,700 in kickbacks over several months from employees on the false premise that the workers had to cover unspecified legal bills. The indictment follows a joint investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.
Iron Workers Local 201 represents public works employees known as “rodmen.” Their job is to set rebar into concrete forms at construction sites in Washington, D.C. One of those sites is the Blue Plains Wastewater Treatment Plant, owned by the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority. Juan Carlos Recinos, local business manager and secretary-treasurer since 2014, saw a unique business opportunity. According to federal prosecutors, Recinos, 40, a resident of Upper Marlboro, Md., on seven instances during April 2013-September 2013, a period when he was a union organizer, induced several members of the Blue Plains rebar crew to hand over a portion of back pay awards to an unnamed attorney. These awards ranged anywhere from $500 to $3,800. Rather than forward the money to the “attorney,” Recinos kept the money for himself. Total take: $18,700. The payoffs were in violation of the Copeland Anti-Kickback Act of 1934, which guards the right of public works employees to receive all due back wages.
Someone within the union apparently tipped off the U.S. Labor Department that something was amiss. This triggered a full-scale probe by the department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and the Office of Inspector General. Eventually, the DOL recommended the case to the Justice Department for prosecution.