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Boyd pleads guilty to racketeering conspiracy, retires from UTU

Yesterday, Byron Boyd Jr.'s three-year tenure as international president of the United Transportation Union officially ended in a Houston federal courtroom. Boyd pled guilty to racketeering conspiracy — one of four federal charges — then retired as president of UTU and the United Transportation Union Insurance Association (UTUIA). He will be sentenced June 10.

Last week, UTU's international executive board found Boyd guilty of violating the union's constitution and suspended him from office, without pay, for the rest of his four-year term, which would have expired in July 2007. Assistant UTU President Paul Thompson, who assumed Boyd's duties, now will serve as international president.

"Today is a day of great sadness and personal regret," said Boyd in a prepared statement. "I take full responsibility for my actions and make no excuses. What I have pleaded to is a burden that falls squarely on my shoulders, as it should."

In September, the U.S. Attorney's office indicted Boyd, former UTU International President Charles Little, former UTUIA director Ralph Dennis and former Boyd special assistant John Rookard on charges of racketeering conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud and commercial bribery. The government alleges that during a seven-year period beginning in 1995, the four union officials conspired to violate federal mail fraud and wire fraud statutes, and commercial state bribery statutes by using their positions of authority to solicit and collect cash payments and other objects of value from attorneys doing business with the union.

Little, who served as international president between 1995 and February 2001, pled guilty to the federal charges in January. He will be sentenced April 9. Dennis and Rookard also pled guilty to all four charges and await sentencing.

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More News from 3/12/2004