Former President and Fund Administrator of Electrical Union Plead Guilty to Embezzlement
Defendants Stole Over $185,000 in Union Pension Funds
Jessie Bell, the former pension fund administrator of the International Union of Electronic, Electrical, Salaried, Machine and Furniture Workers, Local 431 (“Local 431”) Pension Fund (“Pension Fund”) pleaded guilty today at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn, New York, before United States Magistrate Judge Marilyn D. Go to embezzling from the Pension Fund. On May 7, 2013, Frederick Meyers, Bell’s father and the former president of Local 431, also pleaded guilty to embezzling from the Pension Fund.
The guilty pleas 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 Cheryl Garcia, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Office of Inspector General, Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigation, New York Region (“DOL-OIG”).
During their respective plea allocutions, both defendants admitted that from approximately January 2005 to October 2008, they embezzled $85,000 by 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 expenses. In addition, from approximately January 2005 to July 2008, Bell received over $100,000 in compensation from the Pension Fund that was not approved by the Pension Fund Board of Trustees.
“Members of Local 431 entrusted their hard-earned dollars, made by the sweat of their brow, to Bell and her father, relying on them to safeguard those funds until the day they had to put down their tools. Instead of watching over the workers’ future, Bell and her father stole those funds and squandered them on their own daily expenses,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. “Union executives who take pension contributions from hardworking union members to fund their own personal spending sprees will be held accountable.” Ms. Lynch expressed her grateful appreciation to DOL-EBSA Regional Director Kay and DOL-OIG Acting Special Agent in Charge Garcia, whose offices led the government’s investigation.
When sentenced, each defendant faces a maximum of five years’ imprisonment.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Anthony M. Capozzolo.
Jersey City, New Jersey
Newark, New Jersey
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