Two high ranking union officers from the Paramus Local 164 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers have been arrested and charged with embezzling $350,000 from the union and its apprentice program, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced today.
Business Manager Richard "Buzzy" Dressel, 63 of Montvale and Union President John DeBouter, 55, of Oakland, were indicted on eight counts of embezzlement from the Local 164's Joint Apprentice Training Fund.
According to a press release, the embezzlement charges are related to Dressel allegedly using his position with the union to employ his caterer girfriend from 2008 to 2010.
Dressel allegedly created a "Captive Lunch Program” that required the Apprentice Fund to use his girlfriend's catering service for supplying lunches to 40 apprentice trainees over four days each week. At that time she was paid approximately $60,000 annually but was subsequently hired as a member of Dressel's office staff at $1,000 per week, plus 50 percent fringe benefits for health, pension and annuity funds.
Eight months later, her annual salary was raised to $86,000, and by February 2009 she was hired part-time to manage the union's office building. She and Dressel later married in June 2010.
Prior to their wedding, the indictment states that in March 2010, both men demanded a $108,196 repayment to the union from the JATF’s Executive Board for an overpayment to Mrs. Dressel's salary from March 2008 through February 2010.
DeBouter, who also served as the JATF Director is accused of conspiring with Dressel in the embezzlement scheme. In his role, he did not exercise discretionary authority and control regarding the managementand disbursement of the JATF's funding.
Overall, the loss from fraud to both the union and the JATF is alleged to be approximately $350,000.
Both men could face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted of one count of conspiracy to embezzle from Local 164, two substantive counts of embezzlement from Local 164, one count of conspiracy to embezzle and four substantive embezzlement counts.
Dressel and DeBouter are expected to make their initial court appearances today at 2 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Cathy L. Waldor in Newark federal court.