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Ex-SEIU Chief Convicted Of Embezzlement

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LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The former president of a Southland chapter of the Service Employees International Union has been convicted of embezzling tens of thousands of dollars from the organization, which represents home healthcare workers.

KNX 1070’s Brian Ping reports Tyrone Ricky Freeman was found guilty of four counts of mail fraud, seven counts of embezzlement and/or theft of labor union assets, one count of making a false statement to a federally insured financial institution, and two counts of subscribing to a false tax return.

Freeman, 43, is the former president of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Locals 6434 and 434-B, which represent 180,000 low-wage workers who provide in-home healthcare.

From the beginning of 2007 through the summer of 2008, Freeman concealed from the Local 6434 Executive Board and the CUHW Executive Board that he was receiving payments of $2,500 per month in addition to the regular salary that he received from Local 6434.

Freeman, who currently resides in Pittsburgh, Pa., also used a union credit card to pay for his $8,000 wedding during a 2006 trip to Hawaii.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office charged Freeman last July based on a 2008 Los Angeles Times investigation.

Freeman was also found guilty of subscribing to false tax returns in 2006 and 2007 when he failed to report approximately $63,000 in income he received during those tax years.

“This was a case about abuse and betrayal,” U.S. Attorney André Birotte Jr. said. “Freeman abused his position as leader of the SEIU, and he betrayed the hardworking people whose interests he was supposed to represent.”

Freeman, who potentially faces decades in prison, is scheduled to be sentenced on April 22.

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