U.S. Attorney's Office
Eastern District of Pennsylvania
(215) 861-8200
September 22, 2014

Two Ironworkers Plead Guilty to RICO Charges

PHILADELPHIA—Two members of the Ironworkers Local 401, Francis Sean O’Donnell and William Gillin pleaded guilty today to RICO conspiracy, arson, and related charges in United States District Court before the Honorable Michael Baylson. Sentencing hearings are scheduled for January 13, 2015 for Francis Sean O’Donnell and for January 14, 2015 for William Gillin.

Francis Sean O’Donnell, 43, of Warminster, PA pleaded guilty to RICO conspiracy, conspiracy to maliciously damage property by means of fire, and attempted maliciously damaging property by means of fire. During the offense conduct, O’Donnell acted as a business agent for the Ironworkers Local 401 and participated in more than 10 extortions or attempted extortions with the intent to force non-union contractors to hire union labor. O’Donnell recruited other members of the Ironworkers Local 401, whom he called his “Shadow Gang,” to assist him in these crimes. If a contractor refused to hire union labor, O’Donnell and the “Shadow Gang” typically would enter a non-union construction site at night, use sledgehammers to destroy anchor bolts, and cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage.

William Gillin, 43, of Philadelphia, PA pleaded guilty to RICO conspiracy, maliciously damaging property by means of fire, use of fire to commit a felony, maliciously damaging property by means of fire, conspiracy to maliciously damage property by means of fire, and attempted maliciously damaging property by means of fire. Gillin participated in a series of incidents on behalf of the Ironworkers Local 401 as part of the plan by the defendants to force non-union contractors to hire union labor. Specifically, Gillin admitted that he participated in the Quaker Meetinghouse arson, an arson on Grays Avenue in Philadelphia, and an attempted arson in Malvern as well as other episodes—all in retaliation for the contractors failure to hire union ironworkers.

O’Donnell faces a statutory maximum sentence of 60 years in prison, with a five year mandatory minimum sentence, three years of supervised release, a $750,000 fine, and a $300 special assessment; Gillin faces a statutory maximum sentence of 110 years in prison, with a 15 year mandatory minimum sentence, three years of supervised release, a $1.5 million fine, and a $600 special assessment.

The case was investigated jointly by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Labor Office of Inspector General, with assistance provided by the Philadelphia Police Department Corruption Task Force, East Whiteland Township Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and the Employee Benefit Security Administration. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Robert Livermore with legal assistance provided by Gerald Toner, Acting Deputy Chief for Labor-Management Racketeering, Organized Crime and Gang Section at the Department of Justice.

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