Justice News

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, August 2, 2021

Former Labor Union Chief of Staff Convicted of Health Care Fraud

A federal jury in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia convicted an Arkansas man on Friday for fraudulently arranging for a labor union to provide health plan coverage to his girlfriend, who was never a union employee.  

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Roderick Marvin Bennett, 53, of Camden, the former chief of staff for Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA) in Washington, D.C., was convicted by a jury of one count of health care fraud. The charges stemmed from Bennett, unbeknownst to LIUNA, placing his girlfriend on the health care plan designed for employees at LIUNA’s headquarters when he knew she was not eligible to participate in the plan. 

“The jury’s conviction affirms the Justice Department’s efforts to rid our health care delivery systems of corrupt influences and our pursuit of those who would exploit those systems through fraudulent means,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “Department of Labor investigators worked diligently with our prosecutors to ensure that individuals, such as Bennett, who are sworn to safeguard their members’ dues and health and pension plans do not exploit those plans for personal gain.”

LIUNA is a labor organization that represents more than 500,000 laborers in the construction industry in the United States and Canada. For approximately four years, until October 2016, Bennett served as the chief of staff at LIUNA headquarters. The current conviction is in addition to Bennett’s January 2018 guilty plea to three counts of theft from a labor organization stemming from his unauthorized personal purchases – exceeding $150,000 – on his LIUNA-issued American Express card. 

Bennett will be sentenced for his convictions at a later date and faces up to five years in prison. Any sentence will be determined after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

The U.S. Department of Labor investigated the case.

Trial Attorneys Vincent Falvo and Jeremy Franker of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section are prosecuting the case.

Press Release Number: 
21-724
Updated August 2, 2021