Former president of Wilmington construction company pleads guilty to payroll scheme

Former president of Wilmington construction company pleads guilty to payroll scheme

NER Construction Management Corp. president engaged in a scheme to defraud union benefit funds, IRS

 

BOSTON — The former president of the Wilmington-based NER Construction Management Corp. pleaded guilty in federal court to a payroll scheme involving underreporting overtime hours for union employees and failing to collect and pay payroll taxes.

Acting U.S. Attorney Joshua Levy’s office said Frank Loconte, 62, of Beverly, defrauded union workers of more than $1 million of overtime work and the IRS of more than $3 million by not making the required payroll tax and union dues withholdings and payments.

Documents filed in federal court state Loconte used the funds for personal expenses, including vehicles, household improvements, golf club memberships, and personal property taxes for houses in Beverly, Ipswich and Andover, as well as Naples, Florida.

Loconte, who served as the president of NER from 2009 to 2022, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to mail fraud and failing to pay taxes, which are charges that carry a combined sentence of up to 25 years in prison.

Loconte is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 29.

Documents filed in federal court state Loconte was the 40% owner of NER and controlled its day-to-day operations during his roughly 13 years with the construction company.

He also served as the president of NER’s employment management company, NER Management LLC. Through NER, Loconte was responsible for collective bargaining with multiple unions, including the Bricklayers and Allied Craftsmen Local Union No. 3 and various local unions affiliated with the Massachusetts and Northern New England Laborers’ District Council of the Laborers International Union of North America.

According to Levy’s office, Loconte was bound by collective bargaining agreements with the unions which governed the transfer of worker benefit contributions to employee welfare and pension benefit plans, each of which was subject to Employee Retirement Income Security Act provisions.

NER was required to make contributions to the benefit funds each hour worked by covered employees at set rates and to deduct dues from the pay of each worker which would also be forwarded to the benefit funds.

From about January 2014 to May 2022, court documents state Loconte engaged in a scheme to defraud the benefit funds and the IRS by paying only certain workers for overtime worked without reporting the hours to the union benefit funds and without making the required payroll tax withholdings and payments.

At times, NER employees were paid in cash for overtime hours, and at other times, they were paid by check without the required withholdings. Court documents state that to facilitate the scheme, Loconte caused certain employees to cash checks at NER’s bank.

Loconte also caused NER to file false and fraudulent remittance reports with the benefit funds and the unions which underreported the overtime hours worked by the employees thus depriving the benefit funds and unions of contributions owed to members.

Loconte also caused NER to file false and fraudulent IRS payroll taxes that underreported the amount of wages paid.

Instead of paying employment taxes, court documents state Loconte used NER business accounts to pay for his various personal expenses.

Loconte was indicted by a federal grand jury in October 2022.

Mail fraud includes a potential sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. Failing to pay taxes carries a possible sentence of up to five years in prison, two years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.

Loconte’s attorney, George Vien, was unavailable for comment.

View the article at LowellSun.com

Save the date for Helmets to Hardhats on Saturday, September 30

Save the date for Helmets to Hardhats on Saturday, September 30

 
Brothers and Sisters, 
 
Save the date for the 2023 Helmets to Hardhats motorcycle run on Saturday, September 30! Insulators Local 6 is proud to host this year’s motorcycle run starting at IBEW Local 103’s Union Hall in Dorchester.
 
Bring your families and friends to this wonderful event to help support veterans transitioning to civilian life with good-paying union jobs. There will be food and provided, event shirts, 50/50 raffles, and more!
 
Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. and kickstands go up at 11:00 a.m. See the flyer below for more details.
Unknown
In solidarity,
 
Jeffrey Saliba
Business Manager/Financial Secretary

Learn more about substance abuse and mental health in the trades

Learn more about substance abuse and mental health in the trades

Brothers and Sisters, 
 
I am pleased to share a story in The Boston Globe and additional resources about unions working to help Brothers and Sisters in need with comprehensive substance abuse and mental health services. The Massachusetts Building Trades Recovery Council held a stand-down event and roundtable discussion at the 10 World Trade building site and at Ironworkers Local 7.
 
Leaders from the U.S. Department of Labor and OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) attended and provided additional insight into the challenges workers in our industry face. 
 
Every local union has a Recovery program and peers willing to help their Brothers and Sisters in need. Any union member can contact a peer at any time to ask for help, learn about local resources such as recovery meetings at union halls, explore treatment options, and find much-needed personal connections. Support is available to dependents of union members as well. Find more information here: https://massbuildingtrades.org/recovery/.

“Speaking at a roundtable discussion on substance use among trade workers at Ironworkers Local 7 headquarters in South Boston on Wednesday, Dowd said he tried many times unsuccessfully to slow down his substance use. It was not until Dowd had a moment of self-realization that he quit drugs and alcohol all together. When he started getting help, he required discipline to attend every meeting, but the road to recovery became a lot easier when he joined the union and found a support system.”

 
In solidarity,
 
Jeffrey Saliba
Business Manager/Financial Secretary

Fisher Cats Union Family Day 2023

Fisher Cats Union Family Day 2023

 

Each year, Local 6 is proud to organize our annual Union Family Day at Fisher Cats baseball stadium! Members gathered for an exciting professional minor league game and enjoyed quality time spent with their fellow Local 6 family. We are always thrilled to share this opportunity with members and their families.

I am very pleased to share some photos captured from the memorable day! https://insulators6.org/union-events/

Thank you to all who joined our annual Union Family Day. We look forward to seeing you at our next union event.

In solidarity,

Jeffrey Saliba
Business Manager/Financial Secretary

Local 6 front and center for Pres. Biden’s Maine speech highlighting new manufacturing jobs

Local 6 member first to greet President Biden after remarks touting manufacturing growth during visit to Maine

Brothers and Sisters,

I am proud to share with you an uplifting speech President Joe Biden gave recently during a visit to Maine, where he signed an executive order that will boost domestic manufacturing nationwide, spoke about how “Bidenomics” is helping working families, and got a warm greeting from Insulators Local 6 member Levi Hutchins following his remarks.

Representing Local 6, Levi was the first in the audience to greet President Biden on what was his first trip to the state since winning the White House. Speaking at Auburn Manufacturing Inc., a maker of heat and fire-resistant textiles and fabrics, the president offered a strong defense of his successful economic policies.

“We now have more jobs than we had before the pandemic,” Biden said. “People are coming off the sidelines — unemployment is down and so is inflation.”

After his speech, President Biden signed an “Invent It Here, Make It Here” executive order that will boost domestic manufacturing, especially new inventions and technologies. Immediately after he left the podium, he shook hands with a smiling Livi, followed by several other area workers.

Please see the president’s full remarks here, as well as his exchange with Levi (located at the 28:51 mark of the video) at the following link: https://www.c-span.org/video/?529638-1/president-biden-remarks-maine

In solidarity,

Jeffrey Saliba
Business Manager/Financial Secretary

17 new mechanics sworn in at July meeting

17 new mechanics sworn in at July meeting

Brothers and Sisters,

I am proud to announce that a class of 17 new mechanics were sworn in during our July 5 member meeting. Please join me in welcoming them to the Insulators Local 6 family, and commending them for all their hard work.

I’d also like to note the diversity of our graduates, a testament to Local 6’s commitment to creating careers and opportunities that build the middle class from the bottom up and the middle out. Nobody does it better than organized labor to close the income inequality gap and expand access to careers that pay well and provide strong benefits.

Insulators Local 6 represents specialists in mechanical insulation, firestopping, and hazardous waste remediation. Our members receive world-class training in a DOL-certified 4-year apprenticeship program while earning industry-leading wages and benefits. Local 6 offers an intensive training program, including classroom learning, hands-on experience, and mentorship from seasoned insulation professionals. After 1,600 hours per year of training, apprentices graduate from the program with the skills and knowledge to succeed in mechanical insulation, hazardous waste remediation, specialty fabrication, noise reduction, and more.

I am pleased to share some photos from their swearing-in.

The commitment and dedication of our training instructors and apprentices do not go unnoticed. Thank you to all who contribute to making our training program successful!

In solidarity,

Jeffrey Saliba
Business Manager/Financial Secretary

Protect the health and safety of our residents by banning certain flame retardants

Protect the health and safety of our residents by banning certain flame retardants

 

Brothers and Sisters,

The health and safety of our members, as well as that of the general public, is the number one priority of Insulators Local 6. To this extent, Business Manager Jeff Saliba penned an op-ed on the dangers of certain flame retardants that was recently published by the New England Real Estate Journal.

“For our communities, the top priorities must be to protect the health and safety of our residents and its first responders by banning certain flame retardants whose defects and toxic chemicals have raised serious questions about their safety.

Producers tout these toxic flame retardants as a cost effective alternative for developers to expensive and time-consuming construction for structures like mid-rise hotels. But its pervasive use in buildings across the state is alarming professional insulation technicians and firefighters alike.

Certain flame retardants are sometimes used as a fire resistant coating on ductwork.

Used as a spray insulation on ductwork, certain flame retardant chemicals can be highly dangerous if a fire activates the sprinkler system, because sprinklers can wash the insulation off the ducts. Without the insulation, there’s less protection from the fire. Marketed as mitigating the spread of fire, these products may be capable of doing the opposite.”

Please take a moment to read this op-ed and know that Local 6 will continue to lead the way in the fight to improve worker safety.

In solidarity,

Jeffrey Saliba
Business Manager/Financial Secretary

Read Business Manager Jeffrey Saliba’s letter in the Boston Globe highlighting Insulators as key to building “climate-ready” school buildings

Read Business Manager Jeffrey Saliba’s letter in the Boston Globe highlighting Insulators as key to building “climate-ready” school buildings

 

Brothers and Sisters,

Recently, I wrote a letter to the editor to The Boston Globe drawing attention to the crucial role highly trained and skilled mechanical insulators can play in helping the state build climate-friendly school buildings and reach its carbon-reduction goals. You can read my letter to the editor here: https://www.bostonglobe.com/2023/06/12/opinion/how-how-not-constructively-build-climate-ready-school-buildings/.

I am committed to making sure that our state’s decision-makers are aware of the expertise of our union and its members, the most skilled workforce in the industry, and the vital role we can play in building an environmentally friendly future across the Commonwealth.

In Solidarity,

Jeffrey Saliba
Business Manager/Financial Secretary