WILKES-BARRE — Two high-ranking officials with the American Federation of Government Employees Local 1699 were charged by federal authorities with pilfering more than $50,000 in union funds.
Michael Evans, 56, and William Uggiano, 60, both of Wilkes-Barre, conspired to steal the money between 2013 and 2014, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced Tuesday. They were charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud.
According to court papers, Evans served as vice president of the union and Uggiano was treasurer. The pair allegedly withdrew the funds from the union’s account at Vantage Trust First Credit Union in Wilkes-Barre. Further details were not immediately available.
Plea agreements have been struck with both men, prosecutors said. They each face up to 30 years in prison.
In a statement sent to the Times Leader on Wednesday, AFGE spokesperson Tim Kauffman said the union does not comment on ongoing criminal investigations. He confirmed, however, that both Evans and Uggiano were suspended and their “misconduct” was reported.
“We are, as always, opposed to any individual that would cause harm to or commit an unlawful act in relation to a union or union activity,” Kauffman said. “In this case, both members in question were suspended from their positions with AFGE. We reported the alleged misconduct to the Department of Labor in early 2015 and assisted with the subsequent investigation. AFGE has always, and will always, work to ensure transparency and accountability.”
The attorney listed for Uggiano did not immediately return a message seeking comment. Joe Blazosek, counsel for Evans, wanted to defer comment until further steps occur in the case.
The American Federation of Government Employees Local 1699 represents local U.S. government employees. According to prosecutors, the union formed in 1970 and has more than 500 members. The local branch is headquartered on East End Boulevard in Wilkes-Barre.
According to its website, the union is the largest federal employee union representing federal and Washington, D.C., government workers nationwide and overseas. Agencies with the highest number of union members include the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Social Security Administration and the Department of Justice.