Former Bus Drivers’ Union President Pleads Guilty in Manhattan Federal Court to Extorting More Than $500,000 From Bus Company Owners
|U.S. Attorney’s Office July 29, 2010|
PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that WARREN JOSEPH ANNUNZIATA, the former President and Executive Director of Local 91 of the United Craft and Industrial Workers' Union ("Local 91"), pleaded guilty today in Manhattan federal court before United States Magistrate Judge ANDREW J. PECK to one count of using his official position at the union to commit extortion.
According to the Indictment to which ANNUNZIATA pleaded guilty and other filings in the case:
Local 91 is a union that represents approximately 2,000 individuals, including bus drivers and bus escorts who work for companies that contract with the New York City Department of Education to provide students with school bus transportation to public schools throughout New York City. ANNUNZIATA was previously the President and Executive Director of Local 91, and is currently the Union's Pension Fund Administrator, in which capacity he oversees pension and benefit funds holding over $85 million in assets.
From approximately 1992 through 2009, ANNUNZIATA used his position as a high-ranking Local 91 official to solicit and collect cash payments from various bus company owners whose employees were members of Local 91. In total, ANNUNZIATA obtained over $500,000 in illegal cash payments from the bus company owners, who paid ANNUNZIATA out of fear that ANNUNZIATA would inflict economic harm on their businesses. In pleading guilty today, ANNUNZIATA admitted that he used his position of authority at the union to obtain the payments, and that he abused a position of public and private trust in doing so.
ANNUNZIATA, 75, of Roslyn Heights, New York, faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and a maximum fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.
He is scheduled to be sentenced on October 28, 2010, by United States District Judge COLLEEN McMAHON. Mr. BHARARA praised the work of the Department of Labor and the Federal Bureau of Investigations in the investigation of this case. Mr. BHARARA said that the investigation is continuing.
Assistant United States Attorney ELIE HONIG is in charge of the prosecution.