Local 98 employees plead guilty to fraud, embezzling union assets

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File photo: IBEW Local 98 headquarters at 17th and Spring Garden streets. (Erin Reynolds/WHYY)

File photo: IBEW Local 98 headquarters at 17th and Spring Garden streets. (Erin Reynolds/WHYY)

Four former employees of Local 98 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) have pleaded guilty in federal court to multiple charges, including stealing from a union employee benefit plan.

They were charged alongside former Local 98 business manager John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty and former president Brian Burrows, who go to trial on related charges next month.

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Michael Neill, the former head of Local 98’s Apprentice Training Fund, pleaded guilty to four counts of embezzling labor union assets, one count of theft from a union employee benefit plan, and one count for falsifying a tax document.

Marita Crawford, formerly Local 98’s political director, pleaded guilty to four counts of wire fraud. Former employees Niko Rodriguez and Brian Fiocca each pleaded guilty to six counts of embezzling labor union assets.

The four defendants, all from Philadelphia, are scheduled to be sentenced in April 2023.

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Served in 2019, the indictment alleges the former IBEW leaders and staffers  conspired and agreed to embezzle, steal, and convert assets from the union for personal gain.

Doughterty resigned last year from his position of three decades when he and former City Councilmember Bobby Henon were found guilty in a separate federal trial on  conspiracy and wire fraud charges . Dougherty was found guilty of eight of 11 counts against him, while Henon was found guilty of 10 of 18 counts. Each faces  up to 20 years in prison.

Disclosure: The Electricians Union Local 98 represents engineers, camera personnel, audio, and maintenance techs at WHYY.

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