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Former union worker pleads in fraud case

Paul Harnas, Jr., 30, of, Pine City, Chemung County, has pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Chief Judge Frank P. Geraci to conspiring to steal from a health care benefit program.

The charge carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine or both.

Harnas, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney John J. Field, was a member of the Plumbers & Steamfitters Local 267, who devised a scheme to submit fraudulent dental claims seeking reimbursement from the union’s health fund.

Harnas prepared false dental receipts, which he and others provided to the health fund for reimbursement, totally approximately $65,000. He is scheduled to be sentenced on July 8.