NEW YORK — Three leaders of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 348 here were arrested last week and charged with racketeering, extortion, money laundering and witness tampering charges, according to federal officials.
UFCW Local 348, based in Brooklyn, is the largest UFCW chapter in New York City with 12,000 members, and contracts with retailers including FreshDirect and Restaurant Depot. Its leaders extorted or stole more than $2.4 million from the union and its employers between 1995 and 2011, the Manhattan U.S. Attorneys office said.
According to the indictment, Anthony Fazio Sr., president of the union from 1976 to January 2010; his son Anthony Fazio Jr., who took over as president in January 2010; and John Fazio Jr., the union’s vice president and secretary-treasurer, used their leadership positions to collect unlawful payments from various employers whose workers were represented by the union, utilizing threats of labor disruptions. In addition, Fazio Sr. and John Fazio were charged in a money laundering scheme to steal from the union by billing it for nonexistent goods, then funneling the money back to them. Fazio Sr. is charged with witness tampering in relation to this charge.
A Local 348 official was unavailable for comment but Joe Hansen, president of UFCW International, in a statement said the union would cooperate with federal officials and had sent staff representatives to Local 348 represent its members.