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Officials of Pennsylvania Guards Union Charged with Theft

Five former officials of the Pennsylvania State Corrections Officers Association (PSCOA) were charged with theft in July 2023 after allegedly misappropriating union funds for personal expenses and conspiring to cover it up.

A financial crimes investigation by a state police organized crime detective and a financial crimes expert began in April 2021, after the concerns about improper credit card use surfaced during PSCOA’s own audit of transactions made between 2015 and 2019.

The credit cards, issued to union executives for business expenses only, showed transactions for iTunes and expenses at wineries, as well as luxury hotel stays in Las Vegas. Court documents reveal that the former executives bought more than $23,000 worth of personal items with the cards and did not repay the money.

The officials include former union presidents Jason Bloom and Roy Pinto, as well as former vice-presidents Tim Walsh, Larry Blackwell and Robert Storm. Bloom was suspended by the state Department of Corrections (DOC); the other four no longer work for the state. All are accused of submitting deliberately vague expense reports and obstructing inquiries from other union members, including a former treasurer who stated he questioned these expenses on multiple occasions but was instructed simply to pay the bills. They face charges including theft by deception and misuse of institutional funds.

Before the charges were brought, DOC guards Cory Yedlosky and Chris Taylor quit the union and filed a civil lawsuit in 2019, accusing PSCOA leaders of more than $200,000 in fraudulent expenditures on golf trips, NFL tickets and a Rolex. State Police then arrested PSCOA treasurer Bryan Peroni, who pleaded guilty to writing nearly $30,000 in union checks to himself.The state Court of Common Pleas for Huntingdon County dismissed the guards’ complaint in July 2023, saying they are not entitled to damages from the executives’ malfeasance; an appeal is reportedly pending at the state Superior Court. See: Yedlosky v. Penn. State Corr. Officers Assoc’n, Penn. Comm. Pleas (Huntingdon Cty.), Case No. CP-31-CV-1791-2019.

The Fairness Center, a nonprofit public interest law firm representing Yedlosky and Taylor, reported there is also an ongoing investigation into $1.8 million missing from a PSCOA trust fund. Since its clients filed suit, the union has reportedly implemented financial reforms that have reduced membership dues for some 10,000 members working in 23 state prisons.  


Sources: The Fairness Center, Levittown Now, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review 

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Related legal case

Yedlosky v. Penn. State Corr. Officers Assoc’n