Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Joseph Roxlyn Jewett Pleads Guilty to Giving Kickbacks to Carpenters' Union Boss

For Immediate Release
United States Attorney's Office
Eastern District of Michigan
Contact: (313) 226-9100

Joseph Roxlyn Jewett, of Las Vegas, Nevada, pleaded guilty to giving a kickback to the former leader of the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters (“MRCC”), United States Attorney Barbara L. McQuade announced today. The former union boss had engineered the use of Jewett’s company as a consultant on a deal involving the construction of a casino that was funded by the Carpenters Pension Trust Fund.

During a hearing before United States District Judge Arthur J. Tarnow, Jewett admitted that in May 2006, Jewett promised to give Walter Ralph Mabry a one-third interest in an $800,000 investment. Mabry was the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Carpenters Pension Trust Fund and Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the MRCC. Jewett promised Mabry the one-third share of the $800,000 investment because Mabry had asked the investment manager of the Carpenters Pension Trust Fund to use Jewett’s company, J&R Ventures, as a consultant on a pension fund investment in a casino in Biloxi, Mississippi that had been wiped out by Hurricane Katrina.

Based on his guilty plea and conviction for giving a kickback to a fiduciary of a labor union pension fund, Jewett is facing a maximum of three years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Based on calculations under the United States Sentencing Guidelines included in the Plea Agreement, Jewett is facing a sentencing guideline range of between 18 and 24 months in prison. Jewett also has agreed to forfeit $157,000 in funds derived from the kickback scheme.

McQuade was joined in the announcement by FBI Special Agent in Charge Andrew Arena, James Vandenberg, the Special Agent in Charge of the Department of Labor, Office of Investigations–Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations, and Regional Director Paul C. Baumann of the Employee Benefits Security Administration.

Andrew Arena, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation said, “Embezzling union resources and accepting kickbacks systematically robs union monetary assets and decreases benefits to all members. The FBI will continue to aggressively investigate these cases with our law enforcement partners."

James Vanderberg, Special Agent-in-Charge for the Chicago Regional Office of the United States Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General said, “Pension related kickback schemes by consultants to union affiliated benefit plans compromise the retirement accounts of union members. This office will work aggressively with our law enforcement partners to investigate crimes that undermine the financial well being of these pension funds.”

The case was investigated by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General–Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations, and the Employee Benefits Security Administration. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney David A. Gardey and Assistant United States Attorney Phillip Ross.

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