Yet another IATSE official has been arrested for embezzling funds from his local – the 15th local leader from across the country to be so charged or convicted since 2008. The latest to be charged is Ivar Carlson, the former business agent and treasurer of the now-defunct IATSE Local B-935 in Worcester, MA.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s office in Massachusetts, Carlson embezzled more than $37,000 from the local from March 2007 through September 2016 by writing checks from the local’s bank account, cashing those checks, and using the cash for his own personal expenses. A statement by the U.S. Attorney’s office incorrectly identified the local as IATSE Local B-395.
The embezzlement — like so many others that have plagued IATSE locals over the past decade — was discovered by IATSE, which placed the local into trusteeship in November 2016 and merged it into stagehands Local 96. Prior to its dissolution, Local B-935 represented workers at the DCU Center in downtown Worcester. At its height the local only had 32 members, meaning that Carlson allegedly stole about $1,000 from each one of them.
If convicted, Carlson “faces a sentence of no greater than five years in prison, up to three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $10,000,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.
In other embezzlement news, two IATSE leaders from Local 264 in Hampton, Va. — husband and wife Dennis and Dorian Nicely — have been sentenced to 10 months in prison and 180 days of home detention for stealing more than $57,000 from their local. Dorian had been the local’s business agent and Dennis had been the local’s vice president. As reported by Deadline in November, Dorian had pleaded guilty to taking part in the embezzlement scheme in which her husband – and the local’s former president, Benjamin Wisecarver – had also been charged. IATSE discovered the scheme in 2014, revoked the local’s charter and notified the Labor Department. “It appeared that there were inappropriate self-dealings and misuse of assets by officers of the local,” IATSE said in a 2015 report to the DOL. “After several unanswered requests for information, the United States Department of Labor was notified of the circumstances and immediately commenced investigation.”
In the past two years, former officers of IATSE locals in Alabama, Alaska, Michigan, Massachusetts, and Virginia have either been indicted, pleaded guilty or been sentenced for stealing funds from their local unions. Over the past decade, former treasurers, presidents and bookkeepers of IATSE locals in California, New York, Florida, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, Tennessee, and South Dakota have faced similar charges and have pleaded guilty or died before going to trial. Together, they were accused of embezzling nearly $1 million.