LAWFUEL – Legal News – R. Alexander Acosta, United States …

LAWFUEL – Legal News – R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Alice S. Fisher, Assistant Attorney General, United States Department of Justice, and Gordon S. Heddell, Inspector General, United States Department of Labor, announced that a Fort Lauderdale federal jury convicted defendant James Lynch, 56, a former ship captain of the American Maritime Officers Service (“AMOS”), of RICO conspiracy.

The AMOS is the political lobbying branch of the American Maritime Officers (“AMO”) union, which represents upper echelon ship personnel, including captains and their subordinates, and chief engineers and their subordinates. The RICO conspiracy of which the defendant was convicted was predicated on charges of theft and embezzlement from employee benefit plans, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 664; mail fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1341; and graft in connection with an employee benefit plan, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1954.

The evidence at trial established that James Lynch was a close associate of Michael McKay, former President of the AMO union, who ran the AMO after the death of his father, Raymond McKay, the long-term AMO President. According to the evidence, Lynch and McKay used funds from the union’s employee benefit plans for their personal benefit and enrichment, including to reimburse individuals who made political contributions to candidates favored by McKay. In addition, the conspirators used property for which the AMO employee benefit plans were making yearly lease payments to the AMO union without regard to the total lack of value such use was to the employee benefit plans. Furthermore, Lynch and McKay caused the employee benefit plans to pay for other costs that should have been borne by the union. The evidence also showed that Lynch submitted expense vouchers to the AMO Plans and received payments on such vouchers that were not justified.

United States District Judge James I. Cohn scheduled sentencing for April 27, 2007.

On January 5, 2007, in a related trial, another Fort Lauderdale federal jury convicted Michael McKay and his brother, Robert McKay, former Secretary-Treasurer of AMO, of RICO conspiracy and seven related counts. Judge Cohn set their sentencing for March 29, 2007.

Mr. Acosta commended the investigative efforts of the Office of Inspector General, United States Department of Labor, Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations. The case is being prosecuted by Department of Justice Organized Crime and Racketeering Section Trial Attorney Robert S. Tully and Assistant United States Attorney Robert Lehner of the Organized Crime Section.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls . Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov/ or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov/ .

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