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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CRM

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 16, 1994 (202) 616-2771


TDD (202) 514-1888

UNION OFFICIAL PLEADS GUILTY


IN MARINE ENGINEERS BENEFICIAL ASSOCIATION CASE

WASHINGTON, D.C.--The Department of Justice today announced


that a former official of the Marine Engineers Beneficial
Association/National Maritime Union (MEBA/NMU) pleaded guilty to
racketeering conspiracy charges in connection with his activities
with the union.
Donald Kenneth Masingo, 67, of Chesapeake, Virginia, and
Coral Springs, Florida, entered his plea in U.S. District Court
in Washington, D.C.
The RICO conspiracy charge is part of an indictment returned
in June 1993 in Washington D.C. against 16 officials and former
officials of the MEBU/NMU. That case, US v C. Eugene "Gene"
Defries, et al, is scheduled for trial on January 23, 1995.
Masingo's plea agreement with the government requires him to
make restitution to MEBA of $249,008.48 plus interest, which
represents the severance payment he illegally received as a
result of corrupt actions charged in the RICO indictment.
Masingo also agreed to fully cooperate with the government.
The defendant simultaneously pleaded to a criminal charge
filed in Norfolk, Virginia, charging him with conspiracy to
defraud the government.
According to the RICO conspiracy count of the indictment,
and facts admitted by Masingo, between l983 and 1991, Masingo was
employed by the union as a branch agent for the Port of Baltimore
and served as director of the licensed division of MEBA.
Masingo, together with his co-defendants, all former MEBA
officials and others, conspired to conduct the affairs of the
union through a pattern of racketeering activity, including mail
fraud in connection with union elections and embezzlement of some
$2 million in severance payments and extortion. Masingo and his
co-defendants would solicit ballots from MEBA members and then
vote the ballots for themselves. The fraud also included the
opening of sealed voted ballots discarding legitimate ballots,
and replacing them with improperly obtained duplicates. The
extortion stems from Masingo and his co-defendants obtaining
ballots and contributions to the MEBA political action fund from
union members through fear and economic harm.
According to the criminal charges filed in Norfolk, and the
facts admitted by Masingo, between 1983 and 1991, Masingo, as a
MEBA branch agent for the Port of Baltimore, approved or assisted
other conspirators in the approval and payment of more than
$230,000 on fraudulent "expense reimbursements" filed by John C.
Delullo, a MEBA representative in the Port of Norfolk, and
another MEBA representative in the Pot of Charleston. By
misclassifying their salaries as expenses, the two
representatives received their salaries "tax free"--unreported as
incomes by the union--and received more than $85,000 in pension
benefits from the MEBA plans to which they were not entitled.
The sentencing of Masingo has been set for June 6, 1995 in
U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.
The maximum penalty for the RICO conspiracy charge is 20
years in prison and fines up to $250,00 or twice the amount of
the proceeds of the offense, whichever is higher.
As to the conspiracy to defraud charge, Masingo can be
sentenced to up to five years in prison and fined up to $250,000.
Additionally, the sentences may be run consecutively. The
sentences are subject to the federal sentencing guidelines and
are likely to be less than the statutory maximum.
The trial in Washington, D.C., is being handled by Sotiris
A. Planzos, Richard G. Covertino and Thomas Zaccaro, trial
attorneys with the Organized and Racketeering Section of the
Department of Justice.
The investigation in Washington, D.C., was conducted by the
FBI and the Office of Labor Racketeering, U.S. Department of
Labor, Office of Inspector General (DOL/IG) in Hyattsville,
Maryland.
The investigation in Norfolk has been conducted by the
Office of Labor Racketeering, U.S. Department of Labor Inspector
General (DOL/IG) in Hyattsville, Maryland, the Criminal
Investigation Division of the Internal Revenue Service in Norfolk
and the FBI. The case is being prosecuted there by Assistant
U.S. Attorney James A. Metcalfe of Norfolk.
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