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Justice News

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

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Two Union Employees Plead Guilty To Thefts From Health Care Fund

CONTACT: Barbara Burns
PHONE: (716) 843-5817
FAX:  (716) 551-3051

ROCHESTER, N.Y.-- U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Jerad Stevens, 29, of, Ithaca, NY, and Gregory Haller, 45, of Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Marian W. Payson to stealing from a health care benefit program.  The charge carries a maximum sentence one year in prison, a fine of $100,000, or both.

Assistant U.S. Attorney John J. Field, who is handling the matter, stated that Stevens and Haller, members of the Plumbers & Steamfitters Local 267, participated in a scheme devised by Paul Harnas, Jr. to submit fraudulent dental claims for reimbursement from the Local 267 health fund.

Harnas prepared false dental receipts, and provided them to Stevens, Haller and others to support fraudulent claims for reimbursement by Harnas, Stevens, Haller and others, that totaled approximately $65,000.

Harnas was convicted for his role in the crimes and is awaiting sentencing.

The pleas are the culmination of an investigation by Special Agents of the United States Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Cheryl Garcia of the New York Regional Office, and the New York State Department of Financial Services, Frauds Bureau, under the direction of Superintendent Benjamin Lawsky.

Haller is scheduled to be sentenced on July 13, 2015, at 10:00 a.m.,  Stevens on July 14, 2015 at 9:30 a.m., both before Magistrate Judge Payson.

Updated April 17, 2015