TRENTON, N.J. – The founder of the United Security and Police Officers of America (USPOA) was sentenced today to 37 months in prison for embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars in union funds for his personal use, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Assane Faye, 61, of Toms River, New Jersey, was previously convicted of all counts of an indictment charging him with two counts of embezzling union funds and seven counts of mail fraud arising from unemployment insurance fraud. Faye was convicted following a three-week trial before U.S. District Judge Peter G. Sheridan, who imposed the sentence today in Trenton federal court.
According to the documents filed in this case and the evidence presented at trial:
As the founder, national president, and director of the USPOA, as well as a signatory on the USPOA checking account, Faye was obligated to hold and disperse funds of the USPOA solely for the benefit of the union and its members.
Yet in Feb. 2010, without approval of the USPOA Executive Board, Faye put a woman identified in the indictment as “Individual 1,” whom with he had a prior romantic relationship, on the USPOA payroll for $800 a week, purportedly to act as a USPOA organizer in New York. She received additional allowances of $1500 for monthly medical coverage, as well as disbursements for mileage, tolls, parking and vehicle tune-ups. Individual 1 had limited ability to communicate in English, lacked labor organizing experience, and did not own a personal vehicle. As such, Faye’s representations to the Executive Board of her organizing successes were fictional. In addition, Faye had access to both Individual 1’s personal data and bank accounts.
For three and one half years, the union dispersed over $244,000 to Individual 1 while she performed no services for the union. Individual 1 testified that, for at least six months of every year she was on the payroll, she resided in her home country of Senegal. During that time, Faye withdrew approximately $180,000 of her union salary and expense payments for his personal use.
In addition, Faye submitted to the USPOA inflated reimbursement vouchers purportedly for mileage and wear and tear on his personal car, even though he was using rental vehicles. Faye even submitted false vouchers when he traveled outside the United States to Paris, Dubai, China and Milan.
Lastly, despite controlling and collecting disbursements from the USPOA operating account, between April 5, 2010 and June 30, 2010, Faye also committed seven counts of mail fraud by misrepresenting his employment status and fraudulently collecting over $7,000 in unemployment payments from New Jersey’s Unemployment Insurance Division.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Sheridan sentenced Faye to three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay restitution of $350,000.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited the Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General (OIG), under the supervision of Acting Supervisory Agent in Charge Jonathan Mellone, and the Office of Labor Management Standard (OLMS) under the supervision of District Director Andriana Vamvakas for the investigation and trial support leading to today’s sentence.
The government is represented by Senior Litigation Counsel V. Grady O’Malley and Assistant U.S. Attorney Josh Hafetz of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Organized Crime and Gang Unit in Newark.
Defense counsel: Andrea Bergman and Lisa Van Hoeck, Federal Public Defenders