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Charles Burke, ex-treasurer, stole from union, DA says

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Charles Burke, 47, of Oceanside, surrendered to Nassau County prosecutors Tuesday morning, March 8, 2016, to face grand larceny charges in a theft from the union he served as treasurer. Prosecutors said was an officer with Local 365, Utility Workers Union of America. (Credit: Jim Staubitser)

An Oceanside man surrendered to prosecutors Tuesday to face felony charges for allegedly stealing more than $100,000 from the union where he had been treasurer.

The Nassau district attorney’s office charged Charles Burke, 47, with grand larceny and scheme to defraud.

Prosecutors claimed Burke “allegedly enriched himself with union funds” for more than five years while treasurer of Utility Workers Union of America Local 365.

They said he was facing a maximum sentence of five to 15 years in prison if found guilty of the top count.

But Burke’s attorney, Ronald Bekoff, said Tuesday that the defendant denies the allegations and is a hard-working husband and father of three children.

The Garden City lawyer said Burke is currently working three jobs to support his family and has no criminal record.

Hempstead District Court Judge Joseph Girardi conditionally released Burke to probation at his arraignment, according to authorities.

Prosecutors said the crimes came to light after the international treasurer for the union notified Local 365 in October 2014 that more than two years of payments hadn’t been received.

An investigation allegedly showed Burke had stolen more than $111,000 by failing to pay dues to the national organization, writing checks to himself and taking money out of Local 365’s bank accounts without the union knowing or giving permission, prosecutors said.

The Nassau district attorney’s office said it jointly investigated the case with the U.S. Department of Labor.

A man who answered the phone at a listing for the local union office hung up when asked for comment Tuesday.

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