FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For Information Contact Public Affairs
November 25, 2003
Matthew Dates, Special Counsel for Public Affairs, (305) 961-9285
Marjorie M. Selige, Public Affairs Specialist, (305) 961-9048
PAT TORNILLO SENTENCING
Marcos Daniel Jiménez, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; Hector M. Pesquera, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Miami Field Office; Brian J. Wimpling, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, Miami Field Office; and Douglas Colon, Special Agent in Charge of the Department of Labor, Office of the Inspector General, Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations, announced on November 24, 2003, that Pasquale "Pat" Tornillo, Jr., the former President of the United Teachers of Dade (UTD) Union, was sentenced by United States District Court Judge Adalberto Jordan.
Tornillo previously entered a guilty plea to a two count Information, charging him with defrauding UTD and with making false statements on his income tax returns
. Judge Jordan sentenced Tornillo to 27 months of imprisonment, to be followed by two years of supervised release. Judge Jordan also ordered Tornillo to pay UTD $650,000 in restitution within 30 days, as well as an additional $150,000 in restitution within 6 months to cover UTD's attorney's fees and accounting expenses. Tornillo was also ordered to pay the Internal Revenue Service for his unpaid taxes, interest and penalties for the tax years 1997 through 2002, an amount which is expected to be approximately $350,000.
Tornillo is required to surrender to a prison to be determined by the Bureau of Prisons by January 15, 2004.
As set forth in an Agreed Statement of Facts that accompanied Tornillo's guilty plea, Tornillo engaged in a scheme to defraud the UTD and to unjustly enrich himself by using money belonging to UTD to pay for his personal credit card expenses and other personal expenses. Tornillo used personal credit cards and UTD corporate credit cards to make a variety of personal charges as well as union-related charges. Even though the bills for these credit cards included strictly personal charges, Tornillo had UTD pay for the bills in their entirety. The personal charges incurred on both the personal and the corporate credit cards, and paid for by UTD, included charges for a variety of personal vacations that Tornillo took with his wife and other family members. These vacation charges included first class airfare, stays at luxury hotels, meals, gifts and souvenirs in Australia, New Zealand, New York City, the San Francisco area, and the Caribbean island of St. Barthélemy, among other destinations. The travel also included charges for first class airfare and luxury cruises on the Seabourn Cruise Line in the South Pacific, Turkey, Greece, Brazil and Indonesia. To ensure that these personal charges would be paid, Tornillo falsely represented to UTD's comptroller and to UTD's outside auditors that the charges were business-related.
It was also part of Tornillo's scheme to defraud to use a fund referred to as the UTD Nova Educational Fund, the existence of which was not disclosed to certain other officers of UTD and was not disclosed to UTD's Executive Board. Tornillo had checks written from the UTD Nova Educational Fund to pay for personal credit card bills and to pay for the rental of vacation homes on St. Barthélemy. Tornillo also obtained substantial amounts of cash from the fund in the form of checks made out to him personally that were written in round-figure amounts ranging from $2,000 to $15,000. Tornillo never returned any of the cash to UTD and never provided any form of accounting for his use of the cash.
Mr. Jiménez commended the investigative efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, and the Department of Labor, Office of the Inspector General, Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Curtis Miner.