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U.S. Labor Department Office of Labor-Management Standards on Cusp of 900 Criminal Convictions for Decade


Last update: 11:25 a.m. EDT Aug. 26, 2008
WASHINGTON, Aug 26, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Enforcement agency announces 10 criminal convictions and 8 indictments for July 2008
The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) today announced its criminal enforcement data for July 2008. During the month, OLMS obtained 10 convictions, eight indictments and court orders of restitution totaling more than $500,000. The office's totals for fiscal year 2008 (which began on Oct. 1, 2007) now stand at 87 convictions and 112 indictments, with restitution of more than $3 million. Since 2001, OLMS has obtained 889 criminal convictions. The bulk of the cases have involved the embezzlement of union funds.
"Criminal activity in the labor movement seriously affects union members, and OLMS' mission is to prevent it. Our cases demonstrate the continued importance of our investigations to thwart those who abuse their positions," said Deputy Assistant Secretary for Labor-Management Standards Don Todd. "OLMS protects union members, and we are proud to have secured court orders of restitution of more than $90 million since 2001."
OLMS is the federal law enforcement agency responsible for administering most provisions of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 (LMRDA). The agency's criminal enforcement program includes investigations of embezzlement from labor organizations, extortionate picketing, deprivation of union members' rights by force or violence, and fraud in union officer elections. The agency's civil program receives and publicly discloses unions' annual financial reports, conducts compliance audits of labor unions and seeks civil remedies for violations of officer election procedures. In certain cases, OLMS also conducts joint investigations with other Labor Department agencies, including the Employee Benefits Security Administration and the Office of Inspector General, as well as other law enforcement agencies including the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
OLMS' public disclosure Web site at www.unionreports.gov contains union annual financial reports and additional reports required to be filed under the LMRDA as well as copies of collective bargaining agreements. Other information, including synopses of OLMS enforcement actions, is available at www.olms.dol.gov.
Editor's Notes: A listing of selected OLMS enforcement actions during July 2008 accompanies this release. An indictment is the method by which a person is charged with criminal activity. As in all criminal cases, each defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Criminal charges and indictments noted in these materials are accusations only.
U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755. The Labor Department is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.
Selected Enforcement Actions in July 2008
Office of Labor-Management Standards
U.S. Department of Labor
Former IATSE Local President Sentenced for Embezzling More Than $70,000 in Union Funds
On July 28, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia, Darrell Pendergrass, former president of International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 699 (located in Bristol, Va.), was sentenced to one year and a day in prison to be followed by three years of probation. Also, Pendergrass was ordered to make restitution in the amount of $70,336 and pay any fines owed to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Pendergrass previously made restitution in the amount of $53,000. On April 4, Pendergrass pleaded guilty to one count of embezzling union funds in the amount of $70,336 and one count of willfully evading the payment of taxes. The sentencing follows an investigation by the OLMS Washington District Office and the IRS.
Former Steelworkers Local Officer Sentenced for Embezzling Union Funds- Ordered to Pay More Than $34,000 in Restitution
On July 22, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, Deborah Anthony, former financial secretary of Steelworkers Local 1196 (located in Brackenridge, Pa.), was sentenced to five years probation, and ordered to serve one year home detention and pay restitution in the amount of $34,134.47. On March 14, Anthony pleaded guilty to one count of embezzling union funds in the amount of $1,245.45. The sentencing follows an investigation by the OLMS Pittsburgh District Office.
Former Steelworkers Local 1980 Officer Sentenced for Embezzling More Than $11,000
On July 18, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, Kim M. Van Handel, former president and acting treasurer of Steelworkers Local 1980 (located in Appleton, Wis.), was sentenced to five years probation, and ordered to make restitution in the amount of $11,509.85 and pay a $100 special assessment fee. On April 16, Van Handel pleaded guilty to embezzling union funds in the amount of $11,500. The sentencing follows an investigation by the OLMS Milwaukee District Office.
Former APWU Local Officer Charged with Embezzling More Than $18,000 in Union Funds
On July 17, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Tina Curtis, former secretary-treasurer of American Postal Workers Union (APWU) Local 232 (located in Columbus, Ohio), was indicted on one count of embezzling union funds in the amount of $18,283 and one count of filing false financial reports. The indictment follows an investigation by the OLMS Cleveland District Office.
Former Union Officer Sentenced for Embezzling More Than $147,000 in Union Funds
On July 10, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Betty Illig, former secretary-treasurer of Graphic Communications Workers Local 638-S and the Tri-State District Joint Council (located in Poland, Ohio), was sentenced to five years supervised release to include one year home confinement with electronic monitoring, and ordered to perform 200 hours of community service and pay restitution in the amount of $145,675. On February 8, Illig pleaded guilty to embezzling union funds in the same amount and submitting false Form LM-3 reports. The sentencing follows a joint investigation by the OLMS Cleveland District Office and the Department of Labor's Office of Inspector General.
Former IBEW Local President Sentenced for Theft of Union Funds
On July 7, in the Superior Court of Wayne County, Ind., Curtis Pittinger, former president of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 2043 (located in Richmond, Ind.), was sentenced to a suspended sentence of a year and a half in prison, six months in-home detention and probation for four and a half years. He was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $10,132.33, $7,000 for the cost of an audit, and $750 in court costs and fees. On Oct. 3, 2007, Pittinger was charged with three counts of theft of union funds in the amount of $10,300. The sentencing follows an investigation by the OLMS Indianapolis Resident Investigator Office.
Former Electrical Workers Officer Sentenced for Embezzling $40,580 in Union Funds
On July 9, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Kyle Batts, former secretary-treasurer of Electrical Workers Local 738 (located in Tyler, Texas), was sentenced to three years probation, and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $40,580.83 as well as a $100 fine. On February 26, Batts pleaded guilty to embezzling union funds in the same amount. The sentencing follows an investigation by the OLMS Dallas District Office.
Former Letter Carriers Local President Pleads Guilty to Embezzling $20,000 in Union Funds
On July 8, in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, David Denman, former president of the National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 272 (located in Newton, N.J.), pleaded guilty to embezzling union funds in the amount of $20,000. The plea follows a joint investigation by the OLMS New York District Office and the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General.
Former Teachers Local Officer Charged with Embezzling More Than $15,000 in Union Funds
On July 9, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Grace Gaines, former treasurer of American Federation of Teachers Local 4973 (located in Philadelphia, Pa.), was charged with 43 individual counts of embezzling union funds totaling $15,597.99. Gaines is alleged to have issued unauthorized checks from the union's account payable to herself and cashed checks made payable to the local. The charges follow an investigation by the OLMS Philadelphia District Office and the Department of Labor's Office of Inspector General.
Former Union Officer Charged with Embezzling Union Funds
On July 3, in the Douglas County District Court of Nebraska, Michael Jens, former financial secretary/business agent of Bakers Local 50-G (located in Omaha, Neb.), was charged with one count of theft by deception over $1,500. Jens is alleged to have taken union funds in the amount of $12,352.79. The charge follows an investigation by the OLMS St. Louis District Office.
Former Teamsters Local 19 Bookkeeper Sentenced for Embezzling $140,000 in Union Funds
On July 7, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Heather Lott, former bookkeeper of Teamsters Local 19 (located in Houston, Texas), was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment to be followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $140,952. On April 7, Lott pleaded guilty to one count of embezzling union funds in the amount of $140,000. The sentencing follows a joint investigation by the OLMS New Orleans District Office and the Department of Labor's Office of Inspector General.
SOURCE U.S. Department of Labor
 www.dol.gov

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