The president of a Maryland mechanical contractor pleaded guilty to defrauding an international labor union based in Herndon, federal prosecutors announced Mar. 1st.
Howard W. Janoske, 74, of Oakland, Md., pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud and theft and embezzlement of labor union funds before U.S. District Judge Liam O’Grady in the Eastern District of Virginia, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
In an indictment filed in open court in Alexandria on Mar. 1, Janoske admits that the criminal allegations against him “are true and correct” and that the U.S. would have been able to prove them “beyond a reasonable doubt with competent and admissible evidence” if the case had gone to trial.
The indictment does not name the union targeted by Janoske beyond the fact that it is headquartered in Herndon, which falls in the Eastern District of Virginia.
Janoske is identified in the indictment only as the co-owner and president of a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning and plumbing contractor located in Maryland.
While the Department of Justice does not mention the name of the contractor, calling it only “Company A,” a Better Business Bureau listing identifies Janoske as the president of the general contractor James J. Madden, Inc., located in Beltsville, Md.
According to J. Madden’s website, Janoske took over as president of the company in 2002 after the death of its founder’s son, who ran the business after his father retired in 1980.
J. Madden declined to comment when contacted by the Fairfax County Times.
According to the indictment, Janoske’s company had worked with the Herndon-based union since 2002 through a series of maintenance agreements and purchase orders, but starting around May 2012, he began conspiring with a union official identified only as “Person A” to defraud and embezzle from the union.
Person A was employed by the union to manage its real estate and facilities department. They were tasked with supervising employees, overseeing daily maintenance of the union’s office building in Herndon, negotiating contracts, and supervising contractors, including those that provided plumbing and HVAC services.
Federal prosecutors say that Janoske and his company provided “things of value,” such as appliances, outdoor kitchen equipment and supplies, and free residential plumbing and HVAC services, to Person A and his family in exchange for “preferential treatment” when the union awarded HVAC and plumbing contracts and maintenance agreements.
In 2013, Person A solicited a bid proposal from Janoske’s company for an air conditioning and fan replacement project at the union’s headquarters. Around the same time, Person A requested that the company supply and install an outdoor kitchen at their house.
“With Person A’s knowledge, Company A’s bid proposal for the air conditioning and fan replacement project was inflated to cover the cost of Person A’s residential project as well as plumbing and HVAC work previously performed at Person A’s house in or about 2012 and 2013,” the indictment says.
Janokse’s company was selected by Person A to perform the replacement of four exhaust fans and an air conditioning unit at the union’s headquarters.
In an agreement signed by Person A, the union paid Janoske’s company approximately $146,932 for the replacement project. The figure included about $10,000 to cover expenses for Person A’s personal projects.
Janoske’s company and Person A continued engaging in the bribery and fraud scheme until at least mid-2015, according to the indictment.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General and the Office of Labor-Management Standards conducted a joint investigation of the case, which is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Edward P. Sullivan with the DOJ Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section.
Under his plea agreement with federal prosecutors, Janoske is required to pay restitution in an amount between $15,000 and $95,000 that will be determined by the court, and he has also agreed to forfeit all interests in any assets or property that he owns or controls in connection with the fraud.
In exchange, the U.S. has granted Janoske immunity from further criminal prosecution in the Eastern District of Virginia for this particular case.
Conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud and theft or embezzlement of labor union assets carries maximum penalties of five years in prison, a fine of $250,000 or double the amount of money gained or lost, full restitution, forfeiture of assets, and a supervised release term of three years, according to Janoske’s plea agreement, which was filed with the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Virginia in Alexandria on Mar. 1. Janoske’s sentencing hearing has been scheduled for July 12.