Union Employees Plead Guilty to Embezzlement, Wire Fraud, and Theft

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PHILADELPHIA, PA — United States Attorney Jacqueline C. Romero announced that Michael Neill, 56, Marita Crawford, 53, Niko Rodriguez, 31, and Brian Fiocca, 31, all of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and all employees of Local 98 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (“Local 98”), entered pleas of guilty this week before United States District Court Judge Jeffrey Schmehl to federal charges arising from their personal use of the assets of Local 98 in ways that did not benefit the membership of Local 98 as a whole, including embezzlement of labor union assets, wire fraud, and theft from a union employee benefit plan.

All four were charged with former Local 98 Business Manager John Dougherty, who is set to stand trial with codefendant Brian Burrows, President of Local 98, on similar charges, in January 2023.

  • Michael Neill served as the Training Director of Local 98’s Apprentice Training Fund. He pleaded guilty to four counts of embezzlement of labor union assets, one count of theft from a union employee benefit plan, and one count of making and subscribing to a false federal income tax return. He is scheduled to be sentenced on April 7, 2023.
  • Marita Crawford served as Local 98’s Political Director. She pleaded guilty to four counts of wire fraud, the object of which was to obtain money and property from Local 98 by means of false and fraudulent pretenses, representations, and promises. She is scheduled to be sentenced on April 4, 2023.
  • Niko Rodriguez was employed by Local 98’s Apprentice Training Fund and by Local 98. He pleaded guilty to six counts of embezzlement of labor union assets. He is scheduled to be sentenced on April 4, 2023.
  • Brian Fiocca was employed by Local 98 as an office employee. He pleaded guilty to six counts of embezzlement of labor union assets. He is scheduled to be sentenced on April 6, 2023.
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The Indictment returned in January 2019 alleges that from April 2010 through August 2016, defendants John Dougherty, Brian Burrows, Michael Neill, Marita Crawford, Niko Rodriguez, Brian Fiocca and others conspired and agreed to embezzle, steal, and convert to their use and the use of others, the funds, property, and other assets of Local 98 and of the Apprentice Training Fund, in violation of the IBEW constitution, the by-laws of Local 98, the interests of the members of Local 98, and federal law.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, the U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration, the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Labor Management Standards, the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General, and the Pennsylvania State Police, with assistance from the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Frank Costello, Chief of the Corruption & Civil Rights Unit; Bea Witzleben, Co-Chief of Trials; Jason Grenell; Anthony Carissimi; and Richard Barrett, Chief of the Office’s Criminal Division.

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