- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 17, 2002

A U.S. Customs Service inspector, who served as president of a Customs employee union, pleaded guilty to filing a false report with the Labor Department to conceal the theft of union funds, the Justice Department said.
Gregory B. Floto, president of National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) Chapter 116, pleaded guilty Friday in the U.S. District Court in Tucson, Ariz., to filing a false financial report with the Labor Department. Originally indicted in January 2001, he admitted to stealing thousands of dollars in union funds for his personal benefit between 1994 and 1997, Justice Department officials said.
Department officials in Washington, who announced the plea, said Floto concealed the theft by falsifying a union check register and filing false audit documents with the NTEU, and that he filed false financial reports with the Labor Department in which he understated the amount of union funds received.
The officials said Floto admitted to writing thousands of dollars in union checks to pay balances due on personal credit card bills for charges unrelated to union business, including clothing, jewelry and a family vacation. They said he also admitted writing thousands of dollars in union checks to pay for painting his house, making home improvements and double-billing the union and the Customs Service for travel expenses.
As part of the plea agreement, Floto will resign his position with the Customs Service, as well as any position as an officer of NTEU. Chapter 116 has 200 members throughout Arizona, all of whom are federal employees. The union treasury almost exclusively consists of funds deducted from the members' salaries.
Justice Department officials said Floto faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for May 24 before U.S. District Judge Frank Zapata in Tucson.

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