LOS ANGELES (Legal Newsline) - The former president of Service Employees International Union Local 6434, was indicted Tuesday by a federal grand jury.
Tyrone Ricky Freeman, 42 and of Pittsburgh, was 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 subscribing to a false tax return.
Freeman allegedly pilfered money from Local 6434 by diverting reimbursement payments from a public-sector union that had close ties to the SEIU local. He allegedly collected $2,500 per month from Local 6434 and the California United Homecare Workers, which was established in 2005 by SEIU and the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees to represent public sector employees working in the homecare industry in California.
"From in or about January 2007 through on or about Aug. 22, 2008, defendant Freeman concealed from the Local 6434 Executive Board and the CUHW Executive Board that, through the scheme, defendant Freeman was receiving payments of $2,500 per month in addition to the regular salary that he received from Local 6434," according to the indictment.
The indictment also alleges that Freeman used a Local 6434 credit card to pay $8,105 in personal expenses he incurred during a 2006 trip to Honolulu which included expenses related to Freeman's wedding ceremony.
Two of the embezzlement charges stem from Freeman allegedly stealing money from Local 6434 by routing funds through another entity closely aligned with the union - the Long Term Care Housing Corporation, which was a not-for-profit corporation organized in 2004 for the purpose of developing affordable housing for members of Local 6434.
The indictment alleges that Freeman took nearly $17,000 from Local 6434 in June 2008 by requesting the Local 6434 Executive Board to make payments to LTCHC without disclosing to the Executive Board that Freeman would then divert those funds to himself.
Freeman lied to Countrywide Bank when he claimed that Local 6434 paid for his personal American Express credit card bills and the monthly lease payments for his Land Rover, the indictment alleges.
"This case shows that the Labor Department and its federal partners in law enforcement are committed to ensuring that justice is served for those who defraud workers," said Crisanta Johnson, director of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration's Los Angeles Regional Office.