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December 07, 2023

Former union leader John Dougherty found guilty of embezzlement

Federal prosecutors argued that the union leader and his associates stole $600,000 from IBEW Local 98 and used it to cover concert tickets, restaurant bills and other personal expenses

Courts Verdicts
John Dougherty embezzlement Thom Carroll/for PhillyVoice

Jurors declared 'Johnny Doc' guilty of federal embezzlement charges on Thursday, Dec. 7.

John Dougherty, the longtime electricians union leader, was found guilty Thursday on federal embezzlement charges, multiple outlets are reporting.

Dougherty and others were accused of stealing more than $600,000 from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 98 between 2010 and 2016. Over the last five weeks, prosecutors argued that Dougherty used the money to cover restaurant bills, concert tickets and work on his home.

A jury found Dougherty, known as "Johnny Doc," guilty on multiple charges of embezzlement and conspiracy. Brian Burrows, the former president of IBEW Local 98, was also found guilty on several charges. Four other codefendants pleaded guilty last December.

Dougherty previously was found guilty on bribery charges in 2021 along with former City Councilmember Bobby Henon, and is currently awaiting sentencing. Dougherty also faces separate federal extortion charges along with his nephew, Gregory Fiocca, for allegedly threatening and billing a contractor over work Fiocca did not complete.

In the 2019 indictment that led to Dougherty's embezzlement trial, prosecutors said he "used Local 98 as his personal bank account" to cover a vast array of expenditures. He and others allegedly raided the union's coffers for clothing, pet food and holiday decorations, as well as recreational travel to horse races. These personal items were often billed as office supplies, prosecutors wrote, or expensed without explanation. Other items listed in the indictment include a washing machine, mattresses, Disney-brand blankets, patio furniture and numerous groceries.

Dougherty and his codefendants also allegedly spent thousands on concerts and restaurant meals, according to court documents. Famous 4th Street Deli and Termini Bros. Bakery are just a few Philly eateries cited, but numerous dinners in Atlantic City were also allegedly billed to the IBEW Local 98 as business meetings. 

Prosecutors alleged that Dougherty used union funds to cover eight tickets, totaling $1,200, to Taylor Swift's 2015 tour. He and his associates also allegedly requested reimbursements for concerts featuring Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen and Rihanna.

Tickets to Phillies, Eagles and Sixers games — including luxury suite seats — also are cited in the indictment.

"I got a different world than most people ever exist in," Dougherty allegedly told a family member in 2015. "I am able to take care of a lot of people all the time."

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