FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                         CRM
THURSDAY, JULY 6, 1995                             (202) 616-2008
                                               TDD (202) 514-1888


     WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Department of Justice announced
today a federal jury convicted five officers of the Marine
Engineers Beneficial Association ("MEBA"), the largest maritime
union in the United States, on RICO conspiracy, mail fraud,
extortion and embezzlement charges.  Four of the five defendants
were convicted of participating in the theft of $2 million
dollars -- nearly 45% of the union's cash assets -- in the guise
of phony severance payments. 
     The verdict was reached July 5, 1995 following a five-month
trial and is the first criminal prosecution of a nationwide
election fraud scheme carried out by union officials.  C. Eugene
DeFries, age 67, Clyde Dodson, age 72, Reinhold Schamann, age 65,
Claude Daulley, age 70 and Alexander C. Cullison, age 44, were
convicted of violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt
Organization Act ("RICO"), RICO conspiracy, mail fraud,
extortion, and embezzlement in violation of Title 18 United
States Code sections 1962(c) and (d), 1341 and 1346, and Title 29
United States Code  501(c).  
     Defendants DeFries, Dodson, Schamann and Daulley were
convicted on embezzlement charges for stealing the union's
assets.  Cullison, DeFries, Dodson, Schamann and Daulley were
convicted on conspiracy charges for conducting the affairs of
MEBA from 1984 to 1991 through a pattern of racketeering
activity.  The mail fraud convictions involve the defendants'
fixing union elections by unlawfully obtaining ballots from union
members and then voting the ballots for themselves.  
     The extortion conviction arose from threats made by Cullison
and others to union members who resisted the defendants' efforts
to obtain both elections ballots and contributions to the MEBA
political action fund.  Among the extortionate activity were
threats to delay pension applications of retired members, and to
deny members basic union services such as access to the MEBA
training school.  Members who resisted the defendants' efforts
were threatened and deprived of basic union services.  
     "The verdict is a victory for the many rank-and-file union
members who were long victimized by the illegal activities of the
defendants.  By engaging in election fraud, the defendants
systematically deprived union members of their fundamental right
to fair and honest union elections," Assistant Attorney General
JoAnn Harris said.
     Three other MEBA officials, who had previously pled guilty,
cooperated with the government and testified at trial.  Donald
Masingo, former branch agent for the port of Baltimore, pled
guilty to RICO conspiracy, Mario White, former Secretary-
Treasurer and branch agent for the port of Seattle, pled guilty
to mail fraud and Daniel Colon, a patrolman for the port of New
York, pled guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud.  Nine other
union officials are awaiting trial for related mail fraud and
extortion charges.       
     MEBA represents licensed engineers and unlicensed seamen. 
DeFries was the former President of MEBA.  Dodson was the former
Executive Vice-President and Branch Agent for the Port of San
Francisco.  Daulley was a former Vice-President, and Branch Agent
of the Port of New Orleans.  Schamann, also a former Vice-President, 
was the Branch Agent for the Port of New York. 
Cullison was the Branch Agent for the Port of Houston.
     The maximum statutory penalty for the RICO convictions is
twenty years imprisonment on each count and fines up to $250,000,
or twice the amount of the proceeds of the offense, whichever is
     The trial was conducted before United States District Judge
Thomas Penfield Jackson in Washington, D.C.   A sentencing date
has not been set. The prosecution was handled by Sotiris A.
Planzos, Richard G. Convertino and Thomas A. Zaccaro, trial
attorneys with the Organized Crime and Racketeering Section of
the Department of Justice.  Special Agent Joseph Theis of the
Office of Labor Racketeering, Department of Labor Inspector
General in Hyattsville, Maryland and Special Agents Thomas Hayes
and William Redden of the Washington field office of the Federal
Bureau of Investigation (FBI) conducted the investigation. 
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