Union administrator pleads guilty to embezzlement
By Jeff Shuttleworth, Bay City News Service
November 4, 2006
OAKLAND (BCN) - U.S. Attorney for Northern California
Kevin Ryan said union employee benefit administrator James W.
James of San Leandro pleaded guilty today to embezzling $179,000
intended for employees' benefit plans into accounts in his name.
According to Ryan, James pleaded guilty to two counts of embezzlement
in connection with a health care benefit program, one count of
embezzlement of an employee benefit plan and two counts of false
statements and concealment of facts in relation to documents required
by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA).
According to court records, James, 52, who is a former employee
of the United Association of Plumbers Local 159, is alleged to
have embezzled the money while employed as the third party administrator
for the local.
Ryan said James directed a bank employee to wire transfer $150,000
intended for union employees' health and welfare plan to an account
in his name at Deutsche Banc Alex Brown in Maryland.
According to prosecutors, Ryan later directed another $29,000
intended for the union employees' defined contribution plan, a
type of pension plan, to be wired to an investment account he
had at Marner Numismatics, Ltd.
Prosecutors said James then altered the bank account statements
that reflected the illegal transfers in order to make it appear
that the money had gone to the intended union employee benefit
James is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge
D. Lowell Jensen on March 2.
According to the U.S. attorney's office, the prosecution is the
result of a three-year investigation by the U.S. Department of
Labor and its Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations
and Employee Benefits Security Administration units.
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