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Three Union Leaders Found Guilty In Manhattan Federal Court Of Racketeering, Extortion, Money Laundering, And Witness Tampering Charges

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday May, 10, 2012

Defendants Convicted for Extorting and Stealing Over $1 Million from Union, Pension Fund, and Employers

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that ANTHONY FAZIO SR., ANTHONY FAZIO JR., and JOHN FAZIO JR. (collectively, the “FAZIOs”) were found guilty today in Manhattan federal court of racketeering, and extortion in connection with their leadership roles in Local 348-S of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union from 1989 through June 2011.  ANTHONY FAZIO SR. and JOHN FAZIO were convicted of money laundering conspiracy and FAZIO SR. was convicted for witness tampering in connection with attempts to persuade a witness to commit perjury before a federal grand jury.  They were convicted after a three-week jury trial presided over by U.S. District Judge Katherine B. Forrest.  

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “As the jury found, the Fazios exploited their positions as union bosses to extort money from employers and to raid union coffers and benefit funds for over two decades.  Their conduct was a betrayal of their membership and left a taint on the union from which it can now recover.  Unions are institutions that are intended to protect the interests of their members not to line the pockets of their leadership, and we will continue to prosecute and punish those who act otherwise.”

According to the Superseding Indictment filed in Manhattan federal court, other court documents, and statements made during related court proceedings:

The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (the “UFCW”) is a national labor union that represents workers in many industries, including agriculture, health care, meatpacking, poultry and food processing, manufacturing, textile, and retail sales.  Local 348-S of the UFCW (“Local 348” or the “Union”) is one of the 12 constituent local chapters of the UFCW in New York City.  Local 348 is the largest local, with approximately 12,000 members.

For the past 35 years, the FAZIOs have maintained top leadership positions at Local 348.  ANTHONY FAZIO, SR. (“FAZIO SR”) was the President of Local 348 from 1976 to January 2010, followed by ANTHONY FAZIO, JR. (“FAZIO JR.”), who held the position from January 2010, up to and including February 2011.  JOHN FAZIO, JR. (“JOHN FAZIO”) was the Vice President of the Union from September 2000 until January 2010.

As set forth in the Superseding Indictment and as shown by the evidence at trial, from 1989 until 2011, the FAZIOs used their leadership positions to collect unlawful payments from various employers whose employees had been unionized by the UFCW.  The FAZIOs utilized the threat of possible labor disruptions and other means to extort annual or biannual cash payments from approximately 12 employers and an administrator who handles and processes medical reimbursement claims on behalf of Local 348’s Health and Welfare Benefit Funds.  The FAZIOs personally collected these secret cash payments from employers and the fund administrator.  At least one employer was extorted by as much as approximately $25,000 per year by the FAZIOs, and the fund administrator was extorted by as much as $5,000 every month by the FAZIOs. 

In addition to demanding extortionate and unlawful labor payments from employers unionized by the UFCW, FAZIO SR. and JOHN FAZIO engaged in a money laundering scheme to steal funds directly from Local 348 and its affiliated Benefit Funds.  Among other things, FAZIO SR. and JOHN FAZIO concocted a scheme whereby Local 348 was billed using fraudulent invoices for non-existent goods and services.  The Local 348 funds used to pay those bogus invoices subsequently were laundered into cash and siphoned back to FAZIO SR. and JOHN FAZIO. 

Over the time period set forth in the Superseding Indictment, the FAZIOs extorted and stole well over $1 million from the Union, Local 348’s Benefit Funds, and employers whose employees belonged to the Union.

*      *      *

The FAZIOs were convicted of the following charges, with the following attendant penalties: 

COUNT

DEFENDANTS               

CHARGES/MAXIMUM PENALTIES

One

ALL DEFENDANTS

Racketeering Conspiracy

20 years in prison; $250,000 fine

Two

ALL DEFENDANTS

Racketeering

20 years in prison; $250,000 fine

Three

ALL DEFENDANTS

Extortion Conspiracy

20 years in prison; $250,000 fine

Four

ALL DEFENDANTS

Unlawful Receipt of Labor Payments Conspiracy

Five years in prison; $250,000 fine

Five

ANTHONY FAZIO SR.
JOHN FAZIO

Money Laundering Conspiracy

20 years in prison; $250,000 fine

Six

ANTHONY FAZIO SR.

Witness Tampering

20 years in prison; $250,000 fine

 

ANTHONY FAZIO, SR., 66, of Brooklyn, New York, faces a maximum sentence of 105 years in prison; ANTHONY FAZIO, JR., 37, of Brooklyn, New York, faces a maximum sentence of 65 years in prison; JOHN FAZIO, JR., 40, of Staten Island, New York, faces a maximum sentence of 85 years in prison. 

The FAZIOs are scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Forrest on August 27, 2012 at 10:00 a.m. 

Mr. Bharara praised the investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Labor.

The case is being handled by the Office’s Organized Crime Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Chi T. Steve Kwok, Peter M. Skinner, Brian R. Blais, Avi Weitzman, and John Zach are in charge of the prosecution. 

12-142

 

 

 

 

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