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    United States Attorney's Office
    Central District of California

    Thom Mrozek
    Public Affairs Officer

    (213) 894-6947
    thom.mrozek@usdoj.gov



    Return to the 2009 Press Release Index
    Release No. 09-033

    March 23, 2009

    INLAND EMPIRE MEN ARRAIGNED ON CHARGES RELATED TO MISUSE OF FUNDS THEY CONTROLLED AT LABOR UNION

    Two officers with an Inland Empire labor union pleaded not guilty this morning to federal charges of making false statements to the United States Department of Labor by filing a financial statement that failed to report a "slush fund" that contained nearly half of the union's cash and was used to make payments to the union officers and a family member.

    John Romero, 63, and his son, John J. Romero, 45, both of Loma Linda, were indicted by a federal grand jury in Los Angeles on Thursday. Both men were arrested Friday morning on charges of filing a false 2003 Labor Organization Annual Report (Form LM-2) with the United States Department of Labor for the Amalgamated Industrial Workers Union (AIWU). In 2003, John Romero was President of AIWU and John J. Romero was Treasurer of AIWU. Since that time, both men have lost their positions.

    The Form LM-2 is an annual financial report that must be filed by every union and which must be signed by the president and treasurer of the labor organization under penalty of perjury. The president and treasurer of the union must certify that all information in the report is, to the best of their knowledge and belief, true, correct and complete. 

    The indictment alleges that the 2003 Form LM-2 for AIWU, as signed by John Romero and John J. Romero, was not true, correct and complete, because it included materially false statements and misrepresentations. Specifically, the Form LM-2 allegedly reported that the union, at the end of 2003, had approximately $108,666 in cash on hand, when the union actually had an additional $98,044 in five undisclosed bank accounts. The 2003 Form LM-2 also failed to disclose cash disbursements or allowances from the undisclosed accounts to John Romero and John J. Romero, according to the indictment. Further, the 2003 Form LM-2 allegedly was not true, correct and complete because it did not report disbursements made to John Romero's daughter.

    Each of the Romeros, if convicted, faces a statutory maximum penalty of five years in federal prison.

    An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

    The defendants were arrested on Friday and were released on $50,000 bonds after making their initial appearances in United States District Court in Los Angeles. Both men pleaded not guilty this morning, and both are scheduled to appear this afternoon before United States District Judge Manuel Real to discuss a trial date.

    This case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration and the DOL's Office of Inspector General-Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations. These agencies received assistance from the DOL's Office of Labor-Management Standards and IRS-Criminal Investigation.

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    Release No. 9-033
    Return to the 2009 Press Release Index