Audrey Strauss, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that SALVATORE TAGLIAFERRO, the president of Local 926 chapter of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America (the “Union”), was found guilty today in Manhattan federal court of honest services wire fraud, conversion of union assets, and conspiracy, in connection with his involvement in a scheme to solicit cash bribes from hundreds of prospective members in exchange for union membership. The jury convicted TAGLIAFERRO today following a one-week trial before U.S. District Judge Paul A. Crotty. TAGLIAFERRO is scheduled to appear for sentencing before Judge Crotty on July 27, 2021.
U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said: “As a unanimous jury has now found, Salvatore Tagliaferro is guilty of old-fashioned corruption – betraying his duty to the union and the trust of its hard-working members by taking cash bribes to line his own pockets.”
As reflected in the Indictment, public filings, and the evidence presented at trial:
From at least in or about 2017 up through and including in or about June 2019, TAGLIAFERRO, as the President of the Local 926 chapter of the Union in Brooklyn, abused his position as an officer and employee of the Union by soliciting and accepting cash bribes from prospective Union members in exchange for securing the bribe payors’ admission to the Local 926. Working with other co-conspirators, including John DeFalco, the former Vice President of the Local 157 chapter of the Union in Manhattan, TAGLIAFERRO identified prospective members and solicited cash payments in amounts ranging from $600 to $2,000. Once prospective members had paid bribes, TAGLIAFERRO then used his authority to ensure they were admitted into the Local 926 and received Union membership cards. Over the course of the scheme, the Local 926 ballooned by over 800 new members, but for two years more than half of the new members never worked a single Union job. TAGLIAFERRO and DeFalco split the cash bribes obtained from the bribe payors’ during clandestine early morning meetings outside a construction site in lower Manhattan, and each received at least $70,000 as a result of the scheme.
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TAGLIAFERRO was found guilty of one count of conspiracy, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison; one count of conversion of union assets, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison; and one count of honest services wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
Ms. Strauss praised the investigative work of the Department of Labor, Office of the Inspector General, the Department of Labor, Office of Labor-Management Standards, and the New York City Department of Investigation.
This case is being handled by the Office’s Public Corruption Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Thomas McKay and Jarrod Schaeffer and are in charge of the prosecution.