SAN FRANCISCO – LAWFUEL – The Law News Wire – United States Attorney Scott N. Schools announced that a federal grand jury in San Francisco indicted Graham P. Vane, of Pacifica, today with embezzlement and making false statements to a government agency. From approximately January 2002 through March 2006, Vane embezzled over $170,000.00 from the National Association of Letter Carriers, AFL-CIO, Branch 1280, by spending that amount of union money on personal expenses and then falsifying union records and official filings with the Department of Labor to make it appear as if the union money was spent on union-related expenses. These charges are the result of an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Labor-Management Standards.
According to the indictment, Mr. Vane, 49, was the President of the National Association of Letter Carriers, AFL-CIO, Branch 1280, from January 2002 through 2006. Mr. Vane is alleged to have used a union-issued credit card and ten additional personal credit cards to make over $170,000.00 worth of personal expenditures from January 2002 through March 2006. Mr. Vane then paid for those personal expenses by issuing checks on the union’s checking account to pay the various credit card bills. Mr. Vane also wrote several union checks directly to his wife’s cell phone service provider to pay for her cell phone bills. Mr. Vane paid for the following types of personal expenses with union funds: dining; travel for family members; massages; jewelry; wine; pet expenses; personal utility bills; groceries; gas; and liquor and wine. Mr. Vane falsified union records by categorizing the union checks he wrote for personal expenses as legitimate, union-related expenses on the union’s financial records. Mr. Vane also made false statements to the Department of Labor on the union’s annual Form LM-3 reports by representing that all union expenses were union-related when, in fact, he used thousands of dollars each year of union funds to pay for personal expenditures.
A summons was issued for Mr. Vane to make his initial appearance in federal court in San Francisco on May 31, 2007, at 9:30 a.m. before the Honorable Elizabeth D. LaPorte, United States Magistrate Judge.
The maximum statutory penalty for each count of embezzlement in violation of 29 U.S.C. § 501(c) is 5 years in prison and a fine of $10,000.00, plus restitution. The maximum statutory penalty for each count of false statements to a government agency in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001 is 5 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.00. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.
An indictment contains only allegations against an individual and, as with all defendants, Mr. Vane must be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Jeffrey Finigan is the Assistant U.S. Attorney who is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Rawaty Yim. The prosecution is the result of a one year investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Labor-Management Standards.