Corrupt TSA Union Leader Gets Probation, Home Confinement
The ex-president of the Boston union representing Transportation Security Administration workers was punished with probation for defrauding her local.
On Tuesday, Aug. 16, US District Court Judge Indira Talwani sentenced Marie A. LeClair, 59, to three years of probation. Six months of LeClair’s sentence will be spent confined to her Lynn, Massachusetts, apartment.
She was also ordered to repay $29,050 to the American Federation of Government Employees, Transportation Security Administration, Local 2617, which represents workers in Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire.
She had faced up to 20 years behind bars, three years of supervised release when she exits a federal penitentiary, and a $250,000 fine, but a plea deal LeClair inked with federal prosecutors on April 13 capped her punishment at three to 12 months of home confinement.
Coffee or Die Magazine’s attempts to reach LeClair for comment weren’t successful. Her previous cell phone number has been disconnected, and neither she nor her attorney responded to email messages.
Fellow workers elected LeClair president of the Local 2617 in 2015, a post she held until late 2018, when she resigned amid growing calls to audit the union’s books. She left the union in 2019.
During her leadership of the local, LeClair misappropriated $71,893 in union funds, including transferring $36,330 from its official checking account to her personal debit card, according to a federal audit by the Office of Labor Management Standards.
She used the money on cash withdrawals and to buy food, coffee, parking, gas, car washes, a spa treatment, cell phone accessories, luggage, clothes, and dry cleaning, plus for a political contribution and on a PayPal online retail purchase.
Investigators also accused her of diverting $3,807.95 in “Bonus Bucks” incentive payments to recruit new union members, but she was never charged for that.
In his court filings, defense attorney Mark W. Shea urged the judge to show leniency on LeClair, calling her prosecution “a more minor case involving an untrained person in an unpaid position.”
He painted a hardscrabble portrait of his client’s life leading up to her departure from the union, including domestic abuse that “psychologically damaged and unmoored her emotionally.”
Shea told the judge LeClair had been reduced to living in a flat that was “barely 130 square feet in total” and furnished with “consignment specials.” The former local president now staffs the front desk of a Wakefield nursing home and drives for Uber.
Shea urged the judge to sentence LeClair to probation, with three months of home confinement.
Prosecutors disagreed and asked for a year of home confinement. To press their point, they included a victim’s impact statement from Michael Gayzagian, today’s president of Local 2617.
He told the judge LeClair’s misconduct as local leader and fiduciary officer was a “stain on the union” that eroded trust in its executive board.
Gayzagian said the new leaders “had to devote much time, energy, and resources to build back the trust of the membership in our administration of the local.”
The judge met both sides in the middle, hitting LeClair with six months of home confinement.