Ex-union officer charged in prison embezzlement

Vincent, who waived the charges to county court at a preliminary hearing before District Judge Charity Nileski, is free on recognizance bond.

Neither Vincent nor his attorney, Richard Corcoran of Ebensburg, could be reached Tuesday for comment.

The charges are the result of an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor and the Cambria County district attorney’s office.

They cap a more than two-year probe of finances at the Loretto prison guards’ union, Local No. 3951, American Federation of Government Employees.

Court documents accuse Vincent, then treasurer of the union, of writing $20,105 in checks written to cash, and of writing $23,689 in checks to merchants or other vendors for his own purchases.

In all, Vincent wrote 62 unauthorized union checks, court documents say.

Prison spokeswoman Ruth Bracken declined comment and would not say when Vincent last worked at the facility.

“We cannot say when or how long he worked here, and we cannot comment on whether there is any internal investigation,” she said. “We cannot provide any comment at all.”

Although the charges resulted from a federal investigation, they are being tried in county court.

Cambria County District Attorney Patrick Kiniry said that isn’t unusual.

“Our state statutes are right on point for the charges being made, which is failure to make the required disposition of funds,” Kiniry said.

“That is easier to prove in county court than it would be in a federal court, and that’s why I agreed to it.”

Workers at the Loretto prison had been told since 2006 that union finances were the subject of a federal investigation, and many feared missing funds and other irregularities.

Last year, the Loretto prison union’s fiscal reports for 2005 and 2006 remained unfiled with the U.S. Department of Labor, and federal officials remained tightlipped, as did local union officials.

In court documents, Cambria County detectives Thomas Moore and Gary Makosy said they were assigned to the federal investigation of misappropriation of funds from the union.

They said the investigation found that Vincent, as treasurer of the union, wrote the unauthorized checks.

When interviewed by federal investigators, Vincent admitted to the transactions, the county detectives said in their charging documents.

The case is pending in Cambria County Court.

Prison facts

What: The Federal Correctional Institution in Loretto, a low-security prison on Route 276 just outside Loretto, with an adjacent minimum-security camp.

Capacity: 1,430 male inmates.

Staff: 235, 153 of whom are listed as union members.

Union: The American Federation of Government Employees, Local 3951, represents the guards there.

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