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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of New York

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Former President Of Union Pleads Guilty To Accepting Kickbacks Embezzled From Union Welfare Fund

Earlier today, Hector Lopez, the former president of the Metal Polishers Union (Local 8A-28A) and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Local 8A-28A welfare fund, pled guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and tax evasion. The guilty plea proceeding was held before United States District Judge Allyne R. Ross, at the U.S. Courthouse, 225 Cadman Plaza East, Brooklyn, New York.

The defendant admitted to engaging in several schemes to obtain money from the union welfare fund, including:

(1) accepting kickbacks from the third-party administrator of the welfare fund in exchange for ensuring the continued retention of that administrator,

(2) accepting kickbacks from the employer trustee of the local’s welfare fund (“the employer trustee”) in exchange for authorizing the welfare fund to pay inflated invoices for a union hall renovation, and

(3) accepting a kickback from the employer trustee in exchange for rigging the bidding process to ensure that a sprinkler installation job was awarded to a company controlled by the employer trustee.

“As a union official, Lopez was charged with looking out for the welfare of his members. Instead, he put himself first and brazenly stole money that was intended to pay for healthcare expenses of union members and their beneficiaries,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. “Our office is committed to combating union corruption and safeguarding union funds.” Ms. Lynch expressed her grateful appreciation to the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of the Inspector General, Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations, New York; the Department of Labor Office of Labor-Management Standards, New York; Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, New York; and the Employee Benefits Security Administration, New York, for their assistance in this investigation.

When sentenced, Lopez faces a maximum of 25 years’ imprisonment.

The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Charles Kleinberg and Marisa Megur Seifan.

The Defendant:

Age: 54
Residence: Oakland, NJ

Updated July 2, 2015