Federal agents have raided the home of a Michigan-based labor boss amid allegations that he may have stolen money from union members who guard nuclear power facilities and a NASA space center, according to the Detroit News .
The newspaper reported Friday that David Hickey, international president of the Security, Police, and Fire Professionals of America, is apparently the target of a racketeering and fraud investigation being carried out by the Labor Department.
In an exclusive report, the News said Hickey’s home in Troy, Mich., was recently raided, along with the union’s headquarters in Roseville. The investigators seized financial records and even cases filled with magic tricks from Hickey’s home, apparently in an effort to establish a money trail that would substantiate allegations of embezzlement.
Peter Henning, a former federal prosecutor who now teaches law at Wayne State University, told the News that agents must suspect that the magic materials were purchased with money embezzled from the union.
“If you find a bag of money, you take the bag of money,” Henning told the paper. “If you have a bag of tricks, then you seize the bag of tricks.”
The 58-year-old Hickey, who, as it turns out, is a magician, declined to comment. But his attorney, Robert Morgan, confirmed that the authorities were looking for evidence in order to charge his client with embezzlement of union funds.
“I’m confident that when the government goes through all the records that there’s not going to be any basis to charge Mr. Hickey with the offense of embezzlement of union assets,” Morgan told the News.
Asked why the union leader’s magic tricks may have been seized, Morgan said: “The intriguing is intriguing.”
Federal authorities, meanwhile, gave no indication of how much money is alleged to have been taken. But according to the News the union’s recent annual report puts its cash assets at $4.7 million.
The union itself is small, with only 24,519 members. But it bills itself as the oldest and one of the most important security police unions in the country. Its members, for example, stand guard at nearly half the nation’s 104 nuclear facilities, as well as the Kennedy Space Center, and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. (See original report.)