Contractor Gets 5 Years In Jail For Stealing $1.7 Million From Union

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Ted Goodman Contributor
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A Maryland contractor has been sentenced to 68 months in prison after a court found him guilty of stealing approximately $1.7 million from the Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA).

Gary Amoes Cooper, owner and CEO of STS General Contracting, was sentenced Monday in federal court in Washington, D.C., by U.S. District Judge Amit P. Mehta .

Prosecutors for the U.S. Department of Justice say Cooper, 58, funneled $1.7 million from LIUNA Local 657 into his contracting firm for projects his company did not work on.

Co-defendant Anthony Frederick directed more than $1.7 million in Local 657 funds to STS Contracting between May 2013 and June 2014, according to the Department of Justice. The money was transferred for an unauthorized construction project and other work that the company reportedly never intended to perform. Frederick was serving as the business manager of Local 657 at the time.

The executive board and officials at LIUNA had no knowledge and did not authorize the transactions made by Frederick. Cooper and another co-defendant, Christopher Kwegan, also made a series of payments to Frederick with the funds stolen from Local 657, including a $225,000 down payment on a home and $600,000 to a corporation owned in part by Frederick’s wife and by Cooper.

The defendants also withdrew $400,000 in cash, hundreds of thousands of which was sent to third parties in Qatar. The remainder was spent on entertainment, overseas travel, shopping trips and hotel stays, according to a DOJ report.

In addition to the prison sentence, Cooper was ordered to pay $1.632 million in restitution to Local 657 and to forfeit the $1.734 million he obtained through criminal means.

LIUNA Local 657 represents 1,805 construction laborers in Washington, D.C. and five adjacent counties in Maryland and Virginia.

Co-defendants Christopher Kwegan and Anthony Frederick pleaded guilty before Cooper.

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