TRENTON, N.J. – The founder of the United Security and Police Officers of America (USPOA) was convicted today by a federal jury of embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars in union funds for his personal use, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Assane Faye, 61, of Toms River, New Jersey, was convicted of all counts of an indictment charging him with two counts of embezzling union funds and seven counts of mail fraud arising from unemployment insurance fraud. Faye was convicted following a three-week trial before U.S. District Judge Peter G. Sheridan in Trenton federal court. The jury deliberated for five hours before returning the guilty verdict.
According to the documents filed in this case and the evidence presented at trial:
As the founder, national president, and director of the USPOA, as well as a signatory on the USPOA checking account, Faye was obligated to hold and disperse funds of the USPOA solely for the benefit of the union and its members.
Yet in Feb. 2010, without approval of the USPOA Executive Board, Faye put a woman identified in the indictment as “Individual 1,” with whom he had a prior romantic relationship, on the USPOA payroll for $800 a week, purportedly to act as a USPOA organizer in New York. She received additional allowances of $1500 for monthly medical coverage, as well as disbursements for mileage, tolls, parking and vehicle tune-ups. Individual 1 had limited ability to communicate in English, lacked labor organizing experience, and did not own a personal vehicle. As such, Faye’s representations to the Executive Board of her organizing successes were fictional. In addition, Faye had access to both Individual 1’s personal data and bank accounts.
For three and one half years, the union dispersed over $244,000 to Individual 1 while she performed no services for the union. Individual 1 testified that, for at least six months of every year she was on the payroll, she resided in her home country of Senegal. During that time, Faye withdrew approximately $180,000 of her union salary and expense payments for his personal use.
In addition, Faye submitted to the USPOA inflated reimbursement vouchers purportedly for mileage and wear and tear on his personal car, even though he was using rental vehicles. Faye even submitted false vouchers when he traveled outside the United States to Paris, Dubai, China and Milan.
Lastly, despite controlling and collecting disbursements from the USPOA operating account, between April 5, 2010 and June 30, 2010, Faye also committed seven counts of mail fraud by misrepresenting his employment status and fraudulently collecting over $7,000 in unemployment payments from New Jersey’s Unemployment Insurance Division.
Each count of embezzlement carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Each count of mail fraud arising from Faye’s unemployment insurance fraud carries a maximum potential penalty of twenty years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is set for Aug. 22, 2016.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited the Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General (OIG), under the supervision of Acting Supervisory Agent in Charge Jonathan Mellone, and the Office of Labor Management Standard (OLMS) under the supervision of District Director Andriana Vamvakas for the investigation and trial support leading to today’s verdict.
The government is represented by Senior Litigation Counsel V. Grady O’Malley and Assistant U.S. Attorney Josh Hafetz of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Organized Crime and Gang Unit in Newark.
Defense counsel: Andrea Bergman and Lisa Van Hoeck, Federal Public Defenders
Assane Faye saw it as doing someone a favor. Federal prosecutors saw it as stealing. On May 10, Faye, founder, president and executive director of the United Security and Police Officers of America (USPOA), was convicted by a jury in U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey on two counts of embezzling more than $350,000 from the Washington, D.C.-based union and seven counts of unemployment insurance fraud. Immediately afterward, Faye was ordered by the court to relinquish his union post and remain under home confinement until sentencing. He had been indicted in March 2015 following a joint probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.
According to court documents, Faye, now 61, born in Senegal and currently a resident of Toms River (Ocean County), N.J., placed a woman, identified as “Individual 1,” also a Senegalese national, on the USPOA payroll at $800 per week ostensibly for union organizing in New York. In addition, he provided her with $1,500 monthly allowances for medical coverage, plus disbursements for mileage, tolls, parking and vehicle maintenance. Faye and the woman had a previous romantic relationship. The woman lacked organizing experience, fluency in English or even a car, yet she touted her success in her organizing before the USPOA executive board. For three and a half years, she performed no services for USPOA, spending half that time back in Senegal. Faye, who had full access to her bank accounts, disbursed more than $244,000 in union funds to her. He also withdrew about $180,000 of that sum for his personal use, and submitted to the union board false vouchers for domestic and foreign travel. All told, Assane Faye scammed his union out of over $350,000. Additionally, during April 5, 2010-June 30, 2010 he falsely claimed unemployment status in order to collect more than $7,000 in benefits from the New Jersey Unemployment Insurance Division.
Eventually, an increasingly suspicious union board contacted the U.S. Department of Labor, which in turn conducted a full investigation. This led to several indictments last March. Faye pleaded not guilty, preferring to take his case to trial. The strategy backfired. After a three-week trial in Trenton federal court, the jury, after five hours of deliberation, came back with guilty verdicts. Sentencing is set for August 22.
ABOUT National United Security & Police Officers of America (USPOA)
The National United Security & Police Officers of America (USPOA) is a grassroots Union given birth by professional security officers in Washington, DC metropolitan area. Our commitment is to improve working conditions, provide job security, and negotiate comparable wages to the values of the work performance and experience we bring to work every day. Amidst flagrant attacks from the competition, endless name bashing and slanderous propaganda, the Union remained unperturbed – our resilience and continuous success is the result of Security Officers who decided to end the betrayal and exploitive behavior of other unions. There is no power greater than that of union members and that is the secret of our success.
Mr. Assane B. Faye is the Executive Director of the National Union United Security & Police Officers of America (USPOA). Mr. Faye is a graduate of Fairleigh Dickinson University (New Jersey) with a BS in Business and an MBA from the University of New Haven (Connecticut). He has spent more than twenty-one years in the labor movement among some of the most prominent leaders in the fight for workers’ rights. Mr. Faye has a myriad of union experience as a Business Agent and Area Director and is known for his assertive and aggressive approach in negotiations. His awareness of labor laws and infusion of modern techniques of bargaining have earned him the reputation of best negotiator in Washington D.C and the Metropolitan Area. In the past six years, Mr. Faye has:
- Negotiated a large number of union contracts in the District of Columbia.
- Managed conversion of health and welfare benefits into cash for employees for employees who do not needadditional health coverage.
- Established 401k pensions plans.
- Negotiated the highest wage rates in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.
USPOA is one of the fastest growing unions in the nation with nearly 2000 members in the Washington, DC area alone. We know you deserve better and the only way to be properly compensated for the work you do is through the strength of the union. USPOA is noted for its fighting spirit. We are committed to preserving dignity and respect for all security officers in the strict of Columbia and the rest of the country.
Caleb Gray-Burriss – National Association of Special Police and Security Officers (NASPSO) – Convicted
JC Stamps – National Union of Protective Services Associations (NUPSA) – Pled Guilty
Patricia Moore – National Union of Protective Services Associations (NUPSA) – Pled Guilty
Kevin Jones – Metropolitan Campus Police Officers Union (Howard University) – Pled Guilty