The U.S. Attorney's office in Massachusetts has indicted four members of the Local 82 Teamsters union on racketeering, extortion and theft of government money charges.
John Perry, 60, of Woburn; Joseph Burhoe, 44, of Braintree; Thomas Flaherty, 49, of Braintree; and James Deamicis, 49, of Quincy; were charged on Wednesday.
A press release from the U.S. Attorney's office said the four, known as the "Perry Crew," engaged in illegal activities to generate money for themselves, friends and family.
According to the document, the four would threaten to picket or disrupt business hours before an event if the business didn't meet certain demands from the crew, including unnecessary jobs for themselves or their friends.
The release also says that the crew threatened and harmed fellow union members, even assaulting a member who was critical of Perry and assaulting another who had filed a grievance with the union. Officials said on one occasion the crew put a police officer at the entrance to the union hall to prevent members from voting on a proposed contract with a major employer.
The U.S. Attorney said the four are accused of stealing thousands of dollars of unemployment insurance benefits.
They face more than 30 charges including, racketeering, conspiracy to extort, extortion, attempted extortion, mail fraud, prohibition against certain persons holding office and theft of government money.
If convicted, the four face more than 20 years in prison.