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Two Ironworkers sentenced in extortion case

Two more members of the Northeast-based Ironworkers Local 401 were sentenced last week to federal prison terms for their involvement in racketeering and extortion on behalf of the union.

U.S. District Judge Michael Baylson sentenced Christopher Prophet, 44, of Richboro, to serve 63 months, and Richard Ritchie, 45, of Philadelphia, to 48 months behind bars. Both were also ordered to pay tens of thousands of dollars in restitution.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Prophet acted as a business agent for Local 401 and took part in more than five extortions or attempted extortions intending to force non-union contractors to hire union labor. Further, he recruited other union members to assist in the crimes. Prophet’s “Shadow Gang” would vandalize construction sites of uncooperative contractors. Ritchie was another of 12 union members implicated in the case. He and Prophet each pleaded guilty in December. ••

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