Maryland Contractor Pleads Guilty to Bribing, Defrauding Virginia Union

Howard Janoske obtained business on the principle that every man has his price. Now he’s likely to pay a different kind of price. On March 1, Janoske, president of an unnamed Maryland-based plumbing and HVAC contractor, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia to honest services fraud, theft and embezzlement in providing an official of an unnamed Virginia-based labor union with extensive kickbacks over a three-year period in return for receiving preference for union contracts. Sentencing is scheduled for July 12. The plea follows a joint investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.

According to the indictment, Howard Janoske, now 74, a resident of Oakland, Maryland (in the westernmost portion of the state), entered into an illegal quid pro quo agreement with the facilities and real estate manager of an unnamed large international union based in Herndon (Fairfax County), Va. Through his own company, Janoske from about mid-2012 through mid-2015 provided the union official with tens of thousands of dollars in things of value in return for being awarded union contracts. Benefits offered by Janoske to the official included appliances, a high-end outdoor kitchen, and free HVAC and plumbing services. To recoup the costs of the bribes, Janoske and his subordinates submitted inflated or fraudulent invoices to the union for reimbursement.