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Northvale Couple Admits Embezzling Union's $150G For Themselves

U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman
U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman Photo Credit: Jerry DeMarco

NORTHVALE, N.J. – A Northvale husband and wife admitted in federal court on Monday that they used a union health care benefit plan to steal more than $150,000 for their personal use.

Leonard Telesca, 62, admitted that he embezzled $159,598 in benefit funds to pay mortgages on a home and rental property, to go on cruises and for luxury hotel stays from February 2009 through April 2011.

Joann Telesca, 63, admitted embezzling $13,369 for mortgage payments on a River Vale rental property September 2009 through March 2010.

The Telescas operated the United International Brotherhood of All Trades, Technologies, Service, Administration and Medical Workers Union (“All Trades Union”), recruiting union participants online for a welfare fund to provide health care coverage, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said.

Both pleaded guilty to health care embezzlement-related charges in U.S. District Court in Newark, he said.

U.S. District Judge Esther Salas scheduled sentencing for both for Feb. 8, 2016.

Fishman credited special agents of the Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations and the Employee Benefit Security Administration (EBSA) for the investigation.

Assitant U.S. Attorney V. Grady O'Malley, senior litigation counsel of Fishman's Organized Crime/Gangs Unit in Newark handled the prosecution.

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