The owner and CEO of a Greenbelt, Maryland building contracting company was sentenced to 68 months in prison for stealing more than $1.7 million from Local 657 of the Laborers Union of North America (LIUNA) and other related offenses.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Assistant Director in Charge Andrew W. Vale of the FBI’s Washington Field Office; Special Agent in Charge Robin Blake of the Department of Labor Office of Inspector General Washington, D.C., Regional Office; and District Director Mark Wheeler of the Department of Labor’s Office of Labor-Management Standards Washington, D.C., District Office made the announcement.
Gary Amoes Cooper, 57, of Kettering, Maryland, the owner and CEO of STS General Contracting, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Amit P. Mehta of the District of Columbia, who also ordered Cooper to pay $1.632 million in restitution to Local 657 and to forfeit $1.734 million of criminally-derived proceeds.
Evidence presented at trial demonstrated that Cooper and his co-defendant, Christopher Andrew Kwegan, conspired with Anthony Wendel Frederick Sr., the former business manager of Local 657 of LIUNA, to convert for personal use $1.7 million in funds stolen from Local 657. LIUNA’s Local 657, now merged into LIUNA Local 11, represents construction laborers in Washington, D.C., and five adjacent counties.
According to the evidence at trial, from May 2013 to June 2014, Frederick directed more than $1.7 million in Local 657 funds to STS General Contracting for an unauthorized construction project and other work which STS General Contracting did not intend to perform. Cooper and Kwegan then made a number of financial payments to Frederick with the funds stolen from Local 657, including a down payment of $225,000 on a home Frederick purchased and directed more than $600,000 to a corporation owned in part by Frederick’s wife.
Frederick, 51, of Upper Marlboro, Maryland, previously pleaded guilty to the same offenses and was sentenced to 48 months in prison and ordered to pay $1.632 million in restitution to Local 657 and to forfeit $1.734 million on Feb. 7. Kwegan, 58, of Randallstown, Maryland, also previously pleaded guilty to the same offenses and was sentenced on Feb. 8. Both Frederick and Kwegan were sentenced by Judge Mehta.
The FBI and Department of Labor investigated the case. Trial Attorneys Vincent J. Falvo and David Karpel of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section prosecuted the case.