What Happens If You Steal Union Funds In New York?
Organized crime has a long history of infiltrating labor unions. New York has certainly seen this phenomenon in action over the years, with major names like Jimmy Hoffa maintaining close links with various crime families. While the Italian mob might not be as influential as it once was, crime involving labor unions is still relatively common. One potential offense is stealing labor union funds. And as a recent report shows, even police officers may be accused of union-related crimes.
Former President of NYPD Police Union Sentenced to Two Years for Stealing Funds
On August 3rd of 2023, it was reported that the former president of the NYPD Sergeant’s Union had been sentenced to two years in prison. The Justice Department announced that he had been convicted of stealing labor union funds to the tune of “hundreds of thousands of dollars.” Apparently, his strategy involved filing false expense reports for fraudulent expenditures. US Attorney Damian Williams accused this individual of “treating the SBA as his personal piggy bank,” adding that he “undermined the public’s trust in law enforcement.”
After obtaining these funds, the former union president reportedly splurged on meals at high-end restaurants and luxury items. The Justice Department pointed out three forms of fraud committed by this individual: First, he listed meals as expenses when they were not related to the union. Second, he inflated the cost of these meals in order to siphon even more money away from the union. Finally, he “recategorized” various credit card purchases as meal-related expenses – even when these purchases involved clothing and groceries.
Although writing off a few extra meals as expenses might not seem like a big deal, this still constitutes a serious form of fraud. The Justice Department reports that in total, these false expenditure reports added up to at least $600,000 in losses for the union. As part of his sentence, the defendant was ordered to forfeit $600,000.
Why Are Unions So Vulnerable to Corruption?
It is somewhat ironic that the law enforcement officers responsible for fighting corruption are simultaneously committing the same offenses behind closed doors. This shows that labor unions seem to have a persistent problem with corruption. The Justice Department writes that:
“Historically, organized criminal groups such as La Cosa Nostra or the Mafia gained substantial corrupt influence, and even control, over labor unions by creating a climate of fear and intimidation among employers and union members by threats and acts of violence.”
Although the Justice Department specifically mentions unions like the Teamsters and the United Auto Workers, they neglect to highlight the NYPD union as an example of corruption. It is unclear whether they will update their website accordingly in the future.
Where Can I Find a Qualified, Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney in New York?
If you’ve been searching for a qualified, experienced New York criminal defense attorney, look no further than Phillip J. Murphy, Attorney at Law. Being accused of labor union-related crimes can feel like a daunting prospect, but you’re not alone in this battle. One of your first steps should be to reach out to a defense lawyer. During an initial consultation, we can discuss your situation and determine the best defense strategy.