Ex-SEIU local chief Freeman indicted in L.A. on federal corruption charges
Embezzling tens of thousands of dollars
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—The former head of one of the nation's largest union locals was indicted today on charges of embezzling tens of thousands of dollars from the Los Angeles-based labor organization.
Tyrone R. Freeman, 42, is charged with four counts of mail fraud, seven counts of embezzlement and/or theft of labor union assets, one count of making a false statement to a federally insured financial institution and three counts of submitting a false tax return, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Freeman was president of Service Employees International Union Local 6434, representing about 180,000 low-wage workers who provide in-home healthcare services, until 2008.
"While serving as president of his local union, Freeman allegedly used his position to enrich himself at the expense of union members," said Abel Salinas of the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations.
Freeman, who is currently living in Pittsburgh, Penn., is expected to be arraigned in Los Angeles federal court on Sept. 24.
Freeman allegedly pilfered money from the local known as United Long Term Care Workers by diverting reimbursement payments from a public-sector union that had close ties to the healthcare workers group.
The indictment alleges that for about 18 months, Freeman secretly collected $2,500 per month from the local and California United Homecare Workers, which was established in 2005 to represent public sector employees working in the homecare industry in California, in addition to his regular salary.
The indictment also alleges that Freeman used a union credit card to pay $8,105 in personal expenses incurred during a 2006 trip to Honolulu, including bills related to his wedding ceremony.
Two of the embezzlement charges pertain to Freeman's alleged theft of $17,000 from the local by routing funds through another entity closely aligned with the union—the Long Term Care Housing Corporation, a nonprofit corporation started to provide affordable housing for union members.
The false statement charge alleges that Freeman lied to Countrywide Bank when he told a bank representative that Local 6434 paid for his personal American Express credit card bills and the monthly lease payments for his Land Rover, prosecutors said.
The three tax charges allege that Freeman submitted false tax returns in 2006, 2007 and 2008 when he failed to report about $100,000 in income he received during those tax years.
Each count of mail fraud and making a false statement to a federal insured financial institution carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in federal prison. Each count of embezzlement and/or theft of labor union assets and submitting a false tax return carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison.
Freeman's wife, Pilar Planells, pleaded guilty last month to a misdemeanor income tax charge in connection with more than $540,000 she received in consulting payments from the local. She is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 20 in federal court.
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—A former head of one of the nation’s largest union locals was convicted today of federal charges of embezzling tens of thousands of dollars from the Los Angeles-based labor organization.
A Los Angeles federal jury deliberated for three days before finding Tyrone R. Freeman, 43, guilty of mail fraud, embezzlement and/or theft of labor union assets, false statements and tax fraud charges, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—Former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan today ended his campaign to place on the ballot a pension plan that would move new city employees to 401(k)-style retirement accounts.
Riordan’s Save Los Angeles campaign determined it could not meet a Dec. 28 deadline for gathering about 265,000 signatures necessary to place the pension plan on the May 21 ballot.
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—A representative of a group workers at Los Angeles International Airport said today they have no intention of joining a union march on Century Boulevard tomorrow.
Airport employees represented by Service Employees International Union’s United Workers West are planning to march in protest of what union officials call unfair labor practices by Aviation Safeguards.
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—The intersection of 27th Street and Central Avenue was dedicated today as Dr. Bassett H. Brown Square in honor of the pioneering provider of health care services for the underserved in South Los Angeles.
Brown is the CEO of the Central Neighborhood Health Foundation, which is located at the intersection. He has been associated with the clinic since 1967, when he responded to a plea for a physician's assistant.
COMPTON, Calif. — Former Compton Fire Department Deputy Chief Marcel Melanson is scheduled to be arraigned Friday on grand theft and arson charges related to a fire at the department’s headquarters.
Melanson is suspected of stealing thousands of dollars worth of Motorola radios, selling them online and intentionally setting the Dec. 11, 2011 fire to destroy evidence of the thefts, Steve Whitmore of the sheriff’s department said.