New York Labor Unions Claim Swindled by Ponzi Scam
The United Union of Roofers Waterproofers & Allied Workers Local 195 in Cicero, Plumbers & Steamfitters Local 73 in Oswego and the Empire State Carpenters Fringe Benefit Funds recently sent letters telling members they lost money in investments in Madoff, the story reported.
Funds are trying to determine the stolen amount. Patrick B. Morin, secretary, treasurer and business manager for the Empire State Carpenters Union said the price is hard to pinpoint at this time. It is reported that J.P. Jeanneret Associates of Syracuse, one of the union's money managers, used the Madoff fund in its portfolio of investments, Morin said.
The Empire State Carpenters Fringe Benefit Funds was formed by the merger of funds from carpenter locals across the state, Morin said Friday. The impact of the losses varies because not all of the locals were invested in Madoff products, he said.
The union is trying to re-create investment records that go back more than 15 years, he said. Meetings will be held statewide as the carpenters union has an idea how much was lost, Morin said. The fund trustees will hire a law firm for the case, plus a security fraud litigation firm to file a class action lawsuit on behalf of the fund's participants, according to the letter sent to members.
It is believed around eight unions in the Syracuse area lost money through investments with Madoff, the New York State AFL-CIO has said. The roofers union Local 195 sent a letter to members that its fund was in “critical status,” Business Manager Ron Haney confirmed Friday. A meeting will be held with union members January 17.
The United Association of Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 267 in Syracuse said earlier that it had lost money through investments with Jeanneret that had money invested with Madoff. The local has about $155 million in trust funds, including the pension, health, annuity and general funds, said Business Manager Greg Lancette. Only the health and pension funds have exposure to Madoff, he said. The local represents approximately 1,000 plumbers and steamfitters and their families.
Madoff was arrested Dec. 11 in New York City. He was charged with securities fraud after reportedly relaying to family that Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC was a pyramid scheme. The losses are estimated at $50 billion.