An Irish contractor is due in federal court tomorrow to face corruption charges related to a bribery scheme involving New York City’s carpenters union.
Finbar O'Neill, 44, from County Tyrone, surrendered to the FBI at Newark International Airport on Wednesday after returning from Ireland.
O'Neill, 44, who was released on $500,000 bail, has been charged with acting as a so-called bagman, ferrying thousands of dollars in cash to the Irish American head of the New York Carpenters' Union, Michael Forde.
O'Neill, who has been linked to the mobbed-up Luchese family, has been charged with racketeering conspiracy, conspiracy, wire fraud and deprivation of honest services and unlawful acceptance of payment by a labor representative.
Another Irish contractor, James Murray from County Meath, is expected to testify in the massive case.
Murray, who owned On Par Contracting, was indicted on federal fraud and embezzlement charges in 2006 and was believed to have fled to Ireland.
However, sources in New York say he has returned to the U.S. and is involved in the case against Forde.
Court records obtained by the Daily News show he was freed on $8 million bond in November and began plea bargain negotiations with US Attorneys who are prosecuting Forde.
In his absence, federal official seized and sold millions of dollars worth of property belonging to Murray including sites in Manhattan, the Bronx, and nearby Mount Vernon. They also seized and disposed of a 200-acre estate with its own pond and creek, and a Cape-style home in leafy Millbrook; a town which counts Liam Neeson amongst its residents.
Prosecutors say Murray made about $10 million in the scam which saw contractors paying workers off the books, hiring non-union labor and pretending they were union and then claiming they were hiring all-union labor.
Prosecutors have accused Forde and other union officials of accepting substantial bribes from contractors who then paid workers below the union rate, hired non-union labor at union-only job sites, and abandoned payments to the unions’ benefits funds.