July 7, 1980
UPI MIAMI, July 6
A Federal investigation of the Laborers International Union has
uncovered evidence of multimillion dollar kickbacks to union officials
and organized crime figures in the purchase of insurance for the
union's 500,000 members, The Miami Herald reported today.
The Justice Department is preparing to file
charges against several union leaders in south Florida, Chicago
and New England, the newspaper said. "This is going to be
the most important labor corruption case in recent years,"
an unidentified Federal investigator was quoted as saying.
The Herald said that the Justice Department
had prepared charges against about 20 union officers and organized
crime figures but had delayed issuing them because of bickering
among prosecutors in south Florida and Boston over who should
get credit for uncovering the alleged participation of Raymond
Patriarca, a reputed New England crime leader.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the
Justice Department's Organized Crime Strike Force, the Labor Department
and the Internal Revenue Service have participated in the investigation,
the newspaper said.
The investigation began in 1977 with the
embezzlement convictions of two union officials and is based in
large part on evidence given by Joseph Hauser, described as a
convicted insurance swindler who said that he bribed Laborers
Union officials for a decade.
Mr. Hauser illegally diverted $11.7 million
in proceeds of life insurance sales to the union, a Senate committee
report said, using parts of it to pay off union officials, to
provide a $51,000 yacht for a Fort Lauderdale union official and
to establish a Chicago insurance agency for the son of a union