Former New Jersey Union Officer Convicted Of Embezzling Union Funds
NEWARK, N.J. - A former union officer from Local 164 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) was convicted today of embezzling funds by ensuring his then-girlfriend got paid by the union for unauthorized and unnecessary work, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Richard “Buzzy” Dressel, 64, of Montvale, N.J., was convicted of one count each of conspiracy to embezzle and embezzlement from the union, the first two counts of the indictment against him. He was acquitted on other substantive embezzlement counts. The jury returned the verdict after nearly three days of deliberation following a nine-day trial before U.S. District Judge William J. Martini in Newark federal court.
According to documents filed in this case and the evidence at trial:
While the principal officer of the Local 164 IBEW, Dressel put his girlfriend on the payroll from March 2008 to March 2010, when her work provided no genuine benefit to the union or its members. He created an unnecessary position as an in-house caterer for her. Additionally, he padded her income – and indirectly his own – by giving her an office job she didn’t perform, providing her with an additional salary and a fringe benefit package. In all, Dressel embezzled $221,530 in this way.
Each count carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is currently scheduled for March 12, 2014.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Cheryl Garcia, New York Regional Office; and special agents of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration, under the direction of Jonathan Kay, Director for the New York Regional Office, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty verdict.
The government is represented by Assistant United States Attorney Grady O’Malley of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Organized Crime/Gangs Unit and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Kearney of the office’s Criminal Division in Newark.
Defense counsel: Jeffrey Smith Esq.; Alice Penna Esq., Teaneck, N.J.