Two More Sentenced for Racketeering in Case Involving Ironworkers Local 401
PHILADELPHIA—Christopher Prophet, 44, of Richboro, PA, was sentenced today to 63 months in prison for his role in the corruption case involving Ironworkers Local 401. In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Court Judge Michael Baylson ordered three years of supervised release, $138,000 restitution, and a $200 special assessment. In December 2014, Prophet pleaded guilty to RICO conspiracy and attempted extortion which interferes with interstate commerce. Co-defendant Richard Ritchie, 45, of Philadelphia, was sentenced yesterday to four years in prison, three years of supervised release, $25,000 restitution, and a $300 special assessment.
During the offense conduct, Prophet acted as a business agent for the Ironworkers Local 401 and participated in more than five extortions or attempted extortions with the intent to force non-union contractors to hire union labor. Prophet 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, Prophet 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.
Ritchie, 45, of Philadelphia, pleaded guilty in December 2014 to RICO conspiracy, attempted extortion which interferes with interstate commerce and violent crime in aid of racketeering. The 12 defendants in the case were charged with conspiring to use violence and intimidation to get union members assigned to jobs on non-union worksites.
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, Upper Merion Township Police, 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.