Former President and Fund Administrator of Electrical Union Charged with Embezzlement
Defendants Accused of Stealing Over $185,000 in Union Funds
An indictment was unsealed this morning in federal court in Brooklyn charging Frederick Meyers, the former president of the International Union of Electronic, Electrical, Salaried, Machine and Furniture Workers, Local 431 (“Local 431”), and his daughter, Jessie Bell, the former fund administrator of the Electronics Local 431 Pension Fund (“Pension Fund”), with embezzling assets of the Pension Fund.1 The defendants are scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Steven Gold, at the United States Courthouse, 225 Cadman Plaza East, Brooklyn, New York.
The charges were announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Jonathan Kay, Regional Director for the New York Regional Office of the United States Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (“DOL-EBSA”), and Robert Panella, Special Agent-in-Charge of the United States Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations, New York Region (“DOL-OIG”). The criminal case has been assigned to United States District Judge Frederic Block.
The indictment charges that from approximately January 2005 to October 2008, Meters and Bell each embezzled $85,000 using a Pension Fund American Express credit card for their personal expenses, including travel, gasoline, parking, meals and cellular telephone bills, and also used Pension Fund bank checks to pay personal expenses such as parking tickets and parking fees. In addition, from approximately January 2005 to July 2008, Bell allegedly received over $100,000 in compensation from the Pension Fund that was not approved by the Pension Fund Board of Trustees.
“The defendants allegedly used the Local 431 Pension Fund as their personal piggy bank, violating the trust of retired union workers whose interests they were obligated to protect. The government will continue to work to uphold the financial security of hard-working men and women and to preserve the financial standing of pension funds,” stated United States Attorney Lynch.
“Myers and Bell were the trustee and administrator of the pension fund – the very people entrusted to safeguard the fund’s assets,” stated DOL-EBSA Regional Director Kay. “As alleged, their theft of the fund’s assets for personal gain is an unqualified betrayal of the trust placed in them.”
“For over three years, these defendants allegedly embezzled union pension assets they were legally obligated to protect and allegedly used these funds for their own personal enrichment. The Office of Inspector General will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to vigorously investigate labor racketeering in the nation’s unions,” stated DOL-OIG Special Agent-in-Charge Panella.
If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum of five years’ imprisonment.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Anthony M. Capozzolo.
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