Charles Burke stole union funds during five year periodMINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas announced that a former treasurer of Utility Workers Local 365 pleaded guilty today to stealing more than $110,000 from the Nassau County-based union.
Charles Burke, 47, of Oceanside, pleaded guilty today before District Court Judge Martin Massell to one count of Scheme to Defraud in the 2nd Degree (an A misdemeanor). The defendant faces up to one year in prison and is due back for sentencing on June 13.
Under United States Department of Labor regulations, the defendant – upon his guilty plea – will now be barred from holding office in any union.
Prior to his arrest, the defendant had made restitution to Local 365 in the amount of $70,000. He will be sentenced to pay Local 365 the remaining $41,000 in restitution through the Probation Department.
“For more than five years the defendant lined his pockets with the union dues of his fellow union members,” DA Singas said. “With today’s plea, the defendant is now forced to repay the money he has stolen. I thank our partners at the U.S. Department of Labor who helped us investigate and prosecute this case.”
“We again thank Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas and her staff for their hard work on this case. We reiterate that we will continue to work cooperatively with other agencies to pursue and appropriately sanction union officers or employees who embezzle or steal union funds,” said District Director Andriana Vamvakas of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Labor-Management Standards
DA Singas said that in October 2014, Local 365 was notified by the Utility Works Union of America International treasurer that more than two years of payments due from the local union to the international union had not been received. Upon investigation of this issue, Local 365 learned that its treasurer, Charles Burke, during a period of more than five years, had allegedly stolen in excess of $111,000.
In addition to failing to pay dues, Burke allegedly wrote checks to himself and made withdrawals from Local 365’s bank accounts without the union’s knowledge, permission or authority. The defendant admitted today that while he was the Treasurer of Local 365, he stole $111,000 for his own personal use.
UWUA Local 365 is based in Nassau County and members of the union work for American Water and cover the Nassau County line to Roosevelt.
The case arises from a referral by the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) Office of Labor-Management Standards in April 2015. The USDOL division oversees financial integrity in private sector labor unions through standards for union officer elections and union trusteeships and safeguards for union assets.
The case was investigated jointly by the USDOL and NCDA.
Assistant District Attorney Diane Peress, Bureau Chief of DA Singas’ Economic Crimes Bureau, is prosecuting the case. Burke is represented by Ronald Beckoff, Esq.