Two Philadelphia Men Charged with Defrauding Healthcare Workers’ Union with Sham Bids and Inflating Renovation Costs to Unlawfully Fund Political Work

May 13, 2024 | Topic: Criminal

HARRISBURG — Attorney General Michelle Henry announced charges against Christen Woods and Tracy Hardy for a theft scheme involving the diversion of funds from a Philadelphia healthcare workers’ union chapter to Hardy’s political consulting firm.

The men are charged with stealing more than $150,000 from District 1199C, a subsidiary union of the National Union of Hospital and Healthcare Employees that represents thousands of workers throughout the greater Philadelphia area.

Woods, while serving as a union executive officer, approved payments — from union coffers — for Hardy’s unlicensed construction company, according to the Office of Attorney General’s joint investigation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Hardy and Woods are alleged to have deceived the union’s executive board by creating and submitting fake bids in the name of other companies to fraudulently justify paying Hardy an inflated price for the union’s bar renovation. Almost all of the funds paid to Hardy’s construction company were immediately funneled to Hardy’s political consulting firm to fund political work leading up to the 2019 Democratic Primary election.

Woods, 39, and Hardy, 51, are charged with using this scheme to circumvent Pennsylvania campaign finance law and U.S. Department of Labor union reporting requirements.

The 50th Statewide Investigating Grand Jury recommended charges against both men, including corrupt organizations, theft, and forgery — which the Office of Attorney General filed Friday. The defendants were arraigned Friday night and released without bail.

“These two men are accused of intentionally defrauding a workers’ union with an elaborate scheme to steal and divert money for political purposes,” Attorney General Henry said. “The law is very clear about how unions can support candidates and their campaigns. My office will seek to hold those accountable who violate the rules.”

Woods is charged with conspiracy, corrupt organizations, dealing in unlawful proceeds, theft by deception, theft by failure to make required disposition of funds, receiving stolen property, and forgery.

Hardy is charged with conspiracy, corrupt organizations, dealing in unlawful proceeds, theft by deception, receiving stolen property, and forgery.

Woods and Hardy will be prosecuted by the Office of Attorney General’s Public Corruption Section. All charges are accusations. The defendants are innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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