Former Postal Union Officer Pleads Guilty To Role In Embezzlement Scheme

Press Release from Office Of the United States Attorney District of New Jersey

NEWARK, N.J. – The former Secretary-Treasurer of a New Jersey Postal Workers union pleaded guilty today to conspiring to embezzle funds from the union’s operating account, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

John McGovern, 54, of Hawthorne, N.J., entered his guilty plea before United States District Judge Faith S. Hochberg in Newark federal court.

According to Count One of the Indictment to which the defendant pleaded guilty and statements made in court at this and related proceedings:

McGovern admitted that he and Gary Weightman, 53, of Keansburg, N.J. – the former President of Local 190 of the North Jersey Division of the American Postal Workers International Union – conspired to embezzle between $120,000 and $200,000 in union funds between April 2000 and October 2002 from the union’s payroll account and from a separate “operating” account. McGovern and Weightman were elected to their union positions in 1992 and received their salaries directly from the union. Under the Union’s Constitution and by-laws, they were allowed only $3,000 above their basic postal worker’s salary while they held union
office. McGovern, who as Secretary-Treasurer controlled the financial transactions for Local 190, supplemented his income with sums of money far exceeding his annual $46,000 salary,issuing payments to himself of approximately $140,000 – as well as additional reimbursement checks over a two-and-a-half-year period.

McGovern pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to embezzle from a union, which carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and mandatory restitution. He is scheduled to be sentenced February 7, 2011. Gary Weightman previously pleaded guilty to tax evasion for failing to declare income he received as part of the scheme.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the Department of Labor, Office of Labor Management Standards, under the direction of District Director Ralph E. Gerchak, for their work in the investigation of this case.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney V. Grady O’Malley, Senior Litigation Counsel, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Leslie F. Schwartz of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Organized Crime/Gangs Unit in Newark.

Defense counsel: Linda Foster, Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Newark, N.J.