Thursday, September 9, 2010

If I Were A Carpenter

The Illinois Administrator has filed a complaint alleging that an attorney falsely claimed to be a carpenter in order to qualify for the employee benefits of a client. The allegations:

1. At all times alleged in this complaint, Avenue, Inc., and/or Avenue Premier ("Avenue"), a carpentry and siding contractor in Illinois, employed Respondent as an attorney. At no time did Avenue employ Respondent as a carpenter. During the times alleged in this complaint, Respondent did not work as a carpenter.

2. At all times alleged in this complaint, Avenue was a party to a collective bargaining agreement with United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America ("UBC"). Avenue employed carpenters who were eligible to receive health and pension benefits related to the collective bargaining agreement.

3. In or about December 2003, Frank Dimperio, a principal of Avenue, directed Respondent to seek health and pension benefits at UBC's Will County Carpenters Local 174 ("Local 174").

4. About January 6, 2004, Respondent went to Local 174 to apply for health and pension benefits. He received a UBC membership application that included the following statement over a line for the applicant's signature, requiring the applicant to make truthful statements in applying for membership:

I further agree that if it is found at any time that I have made false statements of any kind on this application, that my membership shall be declared void and all monies paid by me shall be forfeited.

The membership application also had a section for Respondent to mark or affirm a specific craft ("the craft section"). The craft section had ten choices: Carpenter, Diver, Federal Government, Industrial, Lather, Local Government, Millwright, Piledriver, Resilient Floorlayer and State Government.

5. About January 6, 2004, Respondent signed the membership application stating that he was a carpenter. Respondent returned the membership application to Local 174 along with his payment of a $300 initiation fee.

6. Between January 6, 2004, and December 12, 2008, Respondent maintained his union membership as a carpenter.

7. Respondent's membership application and labor union membership as a carpenter, as described above in paragraphs 5 and 6, were false and misleading, and Respondent knew that they were false and misleading, because Respondent was not a carpenter.

8. Respondent applied for UBC membership and maintained UBC membership from January 6, 2004, to December 12, 2008, in order to receive union health and pension benefits, to which he otherwise was not entitled.

9. Between January 6, 2004, and December 12, 2008, Respondent received union health and pension benefits through Will County Carpenters Local 174 Welfare Fund and Pension Fund. Will County Carpenters Local 174 Welfare Fund paid at least $130,000 in medical and prescription claims for Respondent and his family.

(Mike Frisch)

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