Local 17 member sentenced for extortion
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The United States Attorney’s Office announced today George Dewald, 56, of Springville, N.Y., who was convicted of extortion, was sentenced to six months in prison, six months home confinement, and two years of supervised release by Chief U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny. The defendant was also ordered to pay $240,000 in restitution to victims.
According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony M. Bruce, who handled the case, Dewald was a member of Local 17 of the International Union of Operating Engineers. The defendant was part of campaign designed to force Marcy Excavation of Frankfort, N.Y., the low bidder on the 2003 expansion of the Chaffee Landfill in Chaffee, N.Y., to sign a collective bargaining agreement with Local 17. In May 2003, Dewald and three other Local 17 members went to the Chaffee Landfill under the cover of darkness and put sand used for sandblasting into the engines and hydraulic lines of nine separate pieces of heavy equipment. This caused significant delays in finishing the job and over $240,000 in damage to the equipment.
Dewald was one of 12 officers and members of Local 17 arrested and charged in this case. Six defendants pleaded guilty, President Mark Kirsch was convicted at trial, four were acquitted at trial, and charges are pending against the twelfth defendant.The investigation of this case was handled by the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations, under the direction of Cheryl Garcia, Acting Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Regional Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the New York State Police, under the direction of Major Michael Cerretto.