Independent Union Boss in New York Sentenced for Role in $1M+ Scams

For years, Rocco Fazzolari used his union and a related benefit plan as sources of easy money. He’s now about to live the hard life. Fazzolari, formerly president of United Industrial and Service Employees Union Local 122, today was sentenced in Manhattan federal court to 37 months in prison for embezzlement, false record-keeping and receiving kickbacks from the East Meadow (Long Island), N.Y. -based union. Through these schemes, he and an unnamed co-conspirator had enriched themselves by more than $1.3 million. In addition to serving prison time, he will have to forfeit $941,828 in assets and pay restitution of $1,288,810.75. Fazzolari had pleaded guilty in September following a joint probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards, Office of Inspector General, and Employee Benefits Security Administration.

According to prosecutors, Fazzolari, now 58, a resident of Manhasset Hills, Long Island, during 2012-16 embezzled union funds to pay for a wide range of personal expenses, including spa treatments, a gym membership, a second car, medical expenses, actors’ union dues (he had bit parts in a couple of New York City mob movies), credit card payments and ATM cash withdrawals, and then “reimbursed” the union with funds from its health plan. In all, Fazzolari embezzled more than $128,000 from the union and improperly transferred more than $89,000 from the plan to the union. By far, however, most of his thefts came from a kickback scheme that he and another individual, “CC-1,” had engineered starting in 2000. Through union benefit funds, Fazzlolari paid CC-1’s company, Acclaim Administrators, Inc., more than $1.1 million for “services” never provided, most of which CC-1 kicked back to Fazzolari.

That these schemes went on for so long testifies to their ingenuity. But in the end, the feds got their man. “Rocco Fazzolari abused his position as the president of a labor union, taking more than $1 million through embezzlement and kickback schemes,” said U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman. “Most of this money was taken from an employee benefit plan, which was established to provide medical care for union members. For his crimes, he is now headed to federal prison.” Once he gets out, he might consider using his actors’ equity card to reboot his once-fledgling movie career.