Former union boss charged in massive fraud, embezzlement indictment
HNN: … A federal grand jury has returned a massive fraud and embezzlement indictment against a former Hawaii union leader and members of his family….
Ahakuelo lead the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1260 until he was ousted three years ago after the union was placed under trusteeship.
The federal investigation centers on lavish salaries and perks, and embezzling union funds.
According to the indictment, the Ahakuelos made thousands of dollars in unauthorized purchases on their union credit cards for travel to Las Vegas and Virginia.
Federal authorities say he also misused union funds to buy a Toyota Tacoma for his wife and hired his son-in-law for $29,000 as a training coordinator for a training program that did not exist….
The indictment also alleges that Ahakuelo falsified votes on membership dues increases taken by several of the unions units in 2015. Those votes doubled the dues from 1.5 to 3%.
Federal authorities said Ahakuelo, Estencion and several other union officials did that by adding fake ballots in voting conducted by Local 1260′s Guam office in January 2015….
After Ahakuelo became Local 1260′s business manager in 2011, its bank accounts went from a surplus of about $700,000 to a deficit about $700,000 four years later, the indictment said….
KHON: Fed indictment: 70 counts against former IBEW Local 1260 union boss and family
KHON: WATCH: Attorney general details federal indictment charges against Brian Ahakuelo in press conference
SA: Former Hawaii union boss and his family members charged with conspiracy
PDF: Ahakuelo Indictment
read … Indicted
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4 charged with conspiracy for allegedly rigging Hawaii union election to raise dues
HNN August 23, 2019: … Four former and current Hawaii union staff members have been charged with conspiracy for allegedly rigging an election to raise dues on members.
Michael Brittain, Daniel Rose, Lee Ann Miyamura, and Russell Yamanoha, who is now a spokesman for Honolulu’s rail project, are accused of falsifying the results of the IBEW 1260 vote in January 2015.
In court documents, federal authorities said the four traveled to Guam to attend a membership meeting in which a resolution to increase dues on members would be considered.
Before the meeting, authorities allege, the four met in a hotel conference room to prepare fake ballots with “yes” votes to make it appear that members had voted in favor the dues increase.
They then allegedly replaced the real ballots with the fake ones. The real ones were thrown away in a park next to their hotel, prosecutors said.
The allegations against the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1260 former and current staff members are linked to a 70-count indictment filed Thursday against the union’s former head, Brian Ahakuelo, and members of his family….
PDF: IBEW charges
read … 4 charged with conspiracy for allegedly rigging Hawaii union election to raise dues
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Statement from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers on Brian Ahakuelo Legal Action
News Release from IBEW, Washington, DC, August 23, 2019
The indictments filed yesterday against Brian Ahakuelo, Marilyn Ahakuelo, and Jennifer Estencion, are a direct result of the IBEW’s vigilance, dogged pursuit of justice for its members and years-long cooperation with law enforcement in Hawaii. The IBEW welcomes today’s announcement and has no tolerance for the type of conduct outlined in the court filing.
In 2016, upon discovering irregularities in both local union spending and in the procedures surrounding a controversial dues increase, IBEW International President Lonnie R. Stephenson placed Local 1260 under trusteeship and moved to return roughly $3.75 million to Local 1260’s members.
Immediately, the IBEW alerted authorities to what the international union believed to be potentially criminal behavior by the local’s leadership, and in the intervening years, IBEW officers and staff have worked hand-in-hand with law enforcement at every step to ensure justice for the members of Local 1260. In addition to fully cooperating with authorities, our own investigation resulted in the permanent expulsion from the IBEW of each of those named yesterday in the indictments.
Because of those swift actions, Local 1260 is back on firm financial footing with duly elected officers who are focused on serving the local’s membership, negotiating fair contracts and improving the lives of working people across Hawaii and Guam.
We look forward to justice being done.
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NLPC: Hawaii IBEW Boss, Family Members Indicted for $1.4M in Thefts