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January 22, 2002
Teamster Leaders Accused of Stealing Benefits
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Teamster leaders in Boston have been charged with embezzling from their own union by fabricating work hours to allow 19 truck drivers, including a reputed gangster, to illegally collect $72,400 in health care benefits, the Boston Globe reports.

Hours after Local 25 President George Cashman, 53, surrendered at his home, Acting Massachusetts Gov. Jane Swift called for his resignation from the board of directors of the Massachusetts Port Authority, which runs Logan International Airport in Boston.

Cashman, fellow Teamster leader and William Carnes, and three men who run a trucking business are charged with embezzlement for allegedly diverting health care benefits to union truckers who didn't work enough hours to qualify for them. None of the five are accused of personally profiting from the scheme, according to the Globe.

"This is a paper case," said A. John Pappalardo, a former U.S. attorney who is representing Cashman. "There is no allegation of violence or any threat of violence. It's unique in that there is no allegation that any of the defendants in this case received any money."

The four indictments against Cashman, seven other men, and three companies are the first charges to be handed up by a federal grand jury in Worcester, Mass., that has also been focusing on allegations that Teamsters union officials extorted Hollywood producers who filmed in New England.

Although none of the indictments allege wrongdoing by Teamsters involving the movie industry, law enforcement officials said that more charges are expected from the ongoing investigation by the US Department of Labor's racketeering division, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and State Police.

"I do not want to say there are going to be more charges against these defendants, but the investigation is continuing," said Assistant US Attorney Fred Wyshak, who is prosecuting the cases against Cashman and the others.

Cashman is charged with conspiracy, embezzlement, and bribery, along with Carnes, 58, of Melrose, the Local 25 vice president; Thomas A. DiSilva, 40, of Nashua; James P. DiSilva, 59, of Lexington; and William P. Belanger, 50, of Winchester.

The indictment also charges three companies run by the DiSilvas: DiSilva Transportation Inc. of Somerville, and Hutchinson Industries and Manfi Leasing Corp., both located in Burlington.

The indictment alleges that Cashman, Carnes, and the others fabricated work orders to make it appear that 19 Teamsters, including Murray and relatives of the DiSilvas, were working for the DiSilvas' companies so that they could collect health care benefits and eventually receive a union pension. According to the indictment, none of the workers had put in enough hours to qualify for the benefits.

Under federal law, a union official can be charged with bribery, even if he didn't personally pocket any money, for diverting benefits to someone else illegally. "The loss is to the fund, which has to pay benefits that they wouldn't normally have to pay," Wyshak said.

Cashman, Carnes, and the DiSilvas pleaded not guilty to the charges in federal court and were released on $25,000 unsecured bond each. Belanger is slated to be arraigned Tuesday.

To view the Boston Globe story, click here.

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