Racketeering Indictment Charges Former Teamsters
Boston - Four former Teamster union members were charged today with committing multiple acts of extortion and racketeering among other crimes.
John Perry, 60, of Woburn; Joseph Burhoe (a/k/a “Jo Jo”), 44, of Braintree; James Deamicis (a/k/a “Jimmy the Bull”), 49, of Quincy; and Thomas Flaherty, 49, of Braintree, were charged in a 30-count indictment with racketeering, conspiracy to extort, extortion, attempted extortion, mail fraud, prohibition against certain persons holding office, and theft of government money.
The indictment alleges that the defendants were members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 82 (Local 82). Perry, a business agent, was the Secretary Treasurer of Local 82, and in 1994 became a trustee of Local 82's Health and Welfare Fund and Savings and Investment Fund, which provide union members with certain benefits such as retirement benefits and medical coverage. In 2003, Perry was appointed as the Director of Trade Shows and Convention Centers for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. Burhoe, Deamicis and Flaherty all worked in the trade show and moving industries. At various times Burhoe, Deamicis and Flaherty served as representatives and defacto representatives of Local 82. In December 2011, Local 82 was taken over by Local 25.
According to the indictment, since 2007 the defendants, known as the “Perry Crew,” engaged in illegal activities in order to generate money for themselves, their friends, and family members in violation of the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). Acts of extortion were allegedly perpetrated by the Perry Crew on various entities throughout Boston including hotels, event planners, catering companies, pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, music entertainment companies, and non-profit organizations, none of which had collective bargaining agreements with Local 82.
The Perry Crew approached these entities and allegedly threatened to picket and disrupt business, sometimes just hours before an event, if the entity did not accede to the Perry Crew’s demand for unwanted, unnecessary and superfluous jobs for themselves, their friends and family. Payment was demanded for these unnecessary “jobs”, although contributions were not made to the benefit funds. Furthermore, the Perry Crew allegedly used threats of physical and economic harm to deprive members of Local 82 of their legally-protected rights as union members.
It is alleged that the defendants threatened and harmed fellow union members. The defendants prohibited Local 82 members from exercising their rights including the democratic participation in the affairs of their labor organization by actual and threatened force, violence and fear of economic and physical harm. It is alleged that some or all of the defendants assaulted one victim who was a critic of Perry; they assaulted another victim, who had filed a grievance against Local 82; and intimidated another victim for having appeared as a witness in a judicial proceeding. They also are alleged to have stationed members of the Perry Crew and a police officer, at the entrance to the union hall, to prevent certain members of Local 82 from voting on a proposed contract ratification with a major employer.
Lastly, it is alleged that Burhoe, Deamicis, and Flaherty falsely reported their income to the Department of Unemployment Assistance and received unemployment insurance from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Since 2008, Burhoe collected 34 checks totaling more than $17,000 and since 2008, Deamicis received 73 checks totally over $9,000, and since 2010, Flaherty collected 48 checks totaling more than $20,000.
“It is critical that local companies and non-profit organizations be able to engage in business activities without fear of extortion from individuals whose goal is to line their own pockets,” said U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz. “Intimidation and fear of retribution should not be part of the cost of doing business.”
“The four defendants in this case allegedly used corruption and intimidation in their operation of the union. In addition, three of the defendants allegedly stole thousands of dollars of unemployment insurance benefits including benefits funded by the Recovery Act. The OIG will continue to work with the U.S. Attorney and our law enforcement partners to investigate labor racketeering and to protect the integrity of unions and the rights of hard working union members,” said Robert L. Panella, Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Region of the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations.
Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis said, “These defendants allegedly used threats and intimation to force businesses and organizations to hire their members-or else, and the threats didn’t end there. In this case the defendants allegedly went so far as to prey on their own, threatening their own members with violence if they complained about not getting work. These indictments send a powerful message - Boston is not a pay to play city. Working with our federal partners we will continue to aggressively go after those who think they are above the law.”
If convicted, the defendants face maximum sentences of 20 years in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release on the RICO/RICO Conspiracy counts; the Hobbs Act extortion counts; and the mail fraud counts. They each face up to 10 years in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release on the theft of government property count and up to five years in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release and a $10,000 fine on the prohibited persons holding office count. They also face fines of up to $250,000 on each of the other counts.
U.S. Attorney Ortiz; Special Agent in Charge Panella; Susan Hensley, Regional Director of the U.S. DOL, Employee Benefits Security Administration, Boston Regional Office; Mark Neylon, District Director of the U.S. DOL, Office of Labor Management Standards; and Commissioner Davis made the announcement today.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura Kaplan of Ortiz’s Strike Force Unit.
The details contained in the indictment are allegations. The defendants are presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.