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Ex-Union Leader Gets|11 Years for Corruption

(CN) - A former Carpenter's Union leader was sentenced to 11 years in prison after he admitted to cheating union benefit funds and taking bribes from contractors.

Michael Forde, a former president of Carpenter's Union Local 608 and the former executive secretary-treasurer of the union's oversight council, admitted to participating in a 15-year racketeering scheme in July.

Nine other union members pleaded guilty to similar corruption charges earlier this year, including former union president John Greaney.

"In today's tough economic times, the jobs of tradesmen cannot be entrusted to leaders making back-door deals to line their own pockets," U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a July statement about Greaney, adding that his guilty plea "unfortunately confirms that corruption has been deeply entrenched within the Carpenters Union."

In exchange for bribes, union officials allowed contractors to pay union members in cash without benefits, hire undocumented immigrants and refuse to pay union members their promised benefits.

The other defendants who pleaded guilty are Joseph Olivieri, Michael Brennan, Brian Carson, Brian Hayes, Finbar O'Neill, Joseph Ruocco, John Stamberger and Michael Vivenzio.

They are all out on bail and are scheduled for sentencing at various times in the coming months.

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