35K Union Membership?


Union members and officials have been indicted on charges of accepting bribes to allow workers to join Steamfitters Local 638.  MaryAnn Spoto has the story on nj.com.

A Middletown man has admitted to helping an official in his union accept bribes in return for granting memberships.

Christopher Lupino, 51, pleaded guilty in Manhattan federal court on Tuesday to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, according to Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.

Lupino, a member of Steamfitters local 638, was one of three labor union members who admitted to helping an official accept bribes in return for membership in the New York City-based union, Bharara’s office said in a press release.

Lupino, along with Adam Foresta, arranged for Foresta to meet with a person, who turned out to be a cooperating witness, to collect bribes from two people seeking union membership, the release said.
The investigation started in December 2013 when a person who has not been identified told the cooperating witness about being offered a union membership in exchange for a $35,000 bribe, authorities said. That person asked the cooperating witness for help paying the bribe, according to the complaint.

A fourth person, union organizer James Sheeran, is scheduled for trial on charges of accepting bribes as part of his responsibility of membership recruitment, Bharara said