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Press Release

Former VA Hospital Workers Union President Pleads Guilty To Theft Of Union Funds In Manhattan Federal Court; Former Stage Union President Sentenced For Embezzling Union Funds

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that FEDERCK C. PETRO, the former President of the American Federation of Government Employees, Local 2094 (the “VA Hospital Workers Union”), pled guilty today to theft of union funds, and JOHN V. McNAMEE, the former President/Secretary-Treasurer of the Stage and Picture Operators, AFL-CIO Exhibition Employees, Local Union 829 (the “Stage and Picture Operators Union”), was sentenced yesterday in Manhattan federal court to one year and one day in prison for embezzling union funds. PETRO was arrested in December 2011 in connection with the scheme, and pled guilty today before U.S. District Judge George B. Daniels. McNAMEE pled guilty in October 2012 to one count of embezzling funds of a labor organization, and was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Kimba M. Wood.

According to the court filings and statements made in court:

From February 2006 through July 2008, while serving as the President of the VA Hospital Workers Union, PETRO wrote approximately 187 checks to himself from the VA Hospital Workers Union’s checking account, totaling approximately $112,477. The VA Hospital Workers Union checking account contained the monthly dues paid to the union by its members.

From January 2004 through February 2011, while serving as the Stage and Picture Operators Union’s President/Secretary-Treasurer, McNAMEE charged $150,000 in personal expenses on the Stage and Picture Operators Union’s corporate credit cards. These personal expenses included jewelry and clothing purchases, restaurant bills, entertainment tickets, and medical, vacation, and party expenses for himself and his family. McNAMEE paid for the personal charges he made on the corporate credit cards by writing checks from the Stage and Picture Operators Union’s checking account to cover the credit card bills. The Stage and Picture Operators Union checking account contained the monthly dues paid to the union by its members.

PETRO, 59, of Brooklyn, New York, pled guilty to one count of theft of union funds while on United States property. He faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison. PETRO is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Daniels on June 4, 2013 at 10:00 a.m.

In addition to the prison sentence, Judge Wood sentenced McNAMEE, 53, of New York, New York, to two years of supervised release and ordered him to pay a fine of $25,000 and a $100 special assessment fee. McNAMEE also has made restitution to the Stage and Picture Operators Union of $150,000, representing the amount he embezzled from it.

Mr. Bharara praised the investigative work of the New York District of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and the Northeast Field Office of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of the Inspector General.

These cases are being prosecuted by the Office’s Public Corruption Unit. Assistant United States Attorney Carrie H. Cohen is in charge of the prosecutions.

Updated May 13, 2015

Press Release Number: 13-050