Union rep charged with embezzlement

A Hawaii union representative was charged in federal court on Thursday with falsifying financial records to inflate his wages and embezzling $1,575 in union funds.

Charles Kimo Brown, 60, a resident of Mililani, Oahu, was indicted on two embezzlement counts and two counts of falsifying union documents. If convicted on all charges, Brown could face up to 12 years in prison.

According to the indictment, Brown worked as an executive officer from 2009 to 2014 with the Hawaii Longshore Division, a labor organization headquartered in Honolulu that represents about 1,000 dock workers throughout the state. As secretary-treasurer, Brown was responsible for maintaining all the union division’s records and correspondence and was charged with overseeing its financial matters.

Aside from his duties as union treasurer, Brown worked as a machine operator with a business the indictment refers to only as “Company A.” But because he “essentially worked full time for the union,” the longshore division compensated him at a rate equal to the amount Brown would have earned from his regular employer, according to the indictment.

These “lost time wages” were accounted for by weekly voucher forms Brown submitted to the union, but the indictment says, the hours he recorded “were consistently inflated and did not accurately reflect Brown’s lost work hours.”

The charges against Brown are based on wage voucher forms the indictment says “did not accurately reflect” Brown’s lost work hours based on records kept by his regular employer. Brown resigned from his position with the union shortly after submitting the allegedly fraudulent vouchers in April 2014.

This case is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Labor, the Internal Revenue Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S Attorney Rebecca A. Perlmutter for the district of Hawaii.

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Caleb Loehrer, staff writer, can be reached at 245-0441 or cloehrer@thegardenisland.com.

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