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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Local 98 Leader John Dougherty and Nephew Charged with Extortion and Conspiracy

Dougherty and his nephew allegedly used violence and threats

PHILADELPHIA – Acting United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams announced that John Dougherty, 60, and Gregory Fiocca, 28, both of Philadelphia, PA, were charged by Indictment with 18 counts of extortion and one count of conspiracy to commit extortion. This Indictment represents new charges against Dougherty, separate and distinct from any other currently pending case.

The Indictment alleges that Dougherty, the Business Manager of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 98 (“Local 98”), and Fiocca, his nephew and a member of Local 98, conspired to extort salary, wages, and employee benefits from Fiocca’s employer, an electrical contracting company, for services Fiocca allegedly did not actually perform from August 2020 until January 2021. The object of the conspiracy was to have Fiocca’s employer continue to pay Fiocca without holding Fiocca accountable or monitoring his work performance. The defendants allegedly used actual and threatened force, violence and fear, including fear of economic harm, to obtain this result.

The Indictment further alleges that between October 2019 and August 2020, after Dougherty appointed Fiocca to be the Local 98 steward for employees working at this job site, Fiocca frequently did not show up for work, was not present at his workstation, and did not complete his assigned work. As a result, Fiocca allegedly was sometimes paid for fewer than 40 hours per week.  It is also alleged that Dougherty was apprised of Fiocca’s attendance and performance issues but refused to acknowledge that Fiocca was at fault.

On August 19, 2020, after Fiocca had been paid for fewer than 40 hours for the previous week because he had worked for fewer than 40 hours that week, Fiocca allegedly grabbed his manager by the throat, threw him on a desk, and threatened him and the company’s owner with further violence. The Indictment further alleges that later that same day, after the assault, Dougherty made escalating threats of economic harm to the owner of the company including: no longer allowing electricians on the job to work overtime, thus forcing the company to operate three shifts of employees; pulling all the electricians off the job entirely; and even trying to prevent the company from securing future work.

As a result, as charged in the indictment, from August 19, 2020 to January 17, 2021, Fiocca remained employed by the company, did little or no work, and continued to receive paychecks and benefits paid by the company.

“No one is entitled to wages they do not earn, and more importantly, no one should fear economic reprisal or physical violence for attempting to do honest business in Philadelphia,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Williams. “As alleged in the Indictment, Fiocca took advantage of his uncle’s position as a powerful leader of an influential union, assaulted a co-worker, and enriched himself at the expense of his employer – and Dougherty had his nephew’s back through all of it. These kinds of actions do not represent ‘business as usual,’ and will not be tolerated in this District.”

“When union leaders put their own interests ahead of its honest and hard-working members, they are not only breaching their obligation to protect union workers and their families, they are breaking the law,” said Michael J. Driscoll, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. “Such corruption must not go unchecked. No matter how long it takes, the FBI, particularly the determined agents and support staff of our Public Corruption Squads, will not rest until unscrupulous public officials and union leaders are brought to justice. The FBI is committing to protecting Philadelphia’s citizens and dedicated laborers.”

If convicted of all counts, the defendants face a maximum possible sentence of 380 years in prison, a $4,750,000 fine, a term of supervised release of two years, and a $1,900 special assessment.

An Indictment, Information or Criminal Complaint is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Frank R. Costello, Jr., and Richard P. Barrett.

Contact: 
UNITED STATES ATTORNEY’S OFFICE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA 615 Chestnut Street, Suite 1250 Philadelphia, PA 19106 JENNIFER CRANDALL Media Contact 215-861-8300 If you have not done so already, follow @USAO_EDPA and @USAttyWilliams on Twitter to get the most up-to-date information about big cases and community news.
Updated March 3, 2021