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Former DFAS employee guilty of making false statements to gain reimbursements

By Jen Lynds

BANGOR, Maine - An Aroostook County man is facing up to five years in prison and substantial fines after pleading guilty to making false statements on annual reports with the U.S. Department of Labor while he was employed by the Defense Finance Accounting Service in Limestone and also served as president of the local union that represented DFAS employees.

Mark P. Durinski, 63, of Limestone admitted on Monday in U.S. District Court in Bangor to failing to disclose that he received more than $50,000 from the local union to reimburse him for travel and other expenditures for which he also was reimbursed by the U.S. Department of Defense or another source, according to U.S. Attorney Thomas E. Delahanty II.

"Defendant Durinski acted willfully with knowledge that his conduct was unlawful," Delahanty said in a written statement issued Wednesday.

Durinski was accused of making false statements to improperly receive more reimbursement than he was entitled to for labor-related travel from 2010 to 2012, while he was employed by DFAS and was president of the American Federation of Government Employees Local 294, the union that represented DFAS employees.

In filling out Department of Labor forms during those three years, Durinsky stated that he had received smaller amounts or no reimbursements at all as president of Local 294, when in fact he had received substantial amounts for labor-related travel around the country, according to court documents.

During an audit, however, Department of Labor investigator Jonathan Simrak compared Department of Defense travel vouchers, AFGE reimbursement checks, credit card statements, hotel receipts, airline invoices, rental car agreements and other records with Local 294 checks made payable to Durinski.

The investigation showed that Durinski "had received double payment or overpayment from Local 294 for travel and other claimed expenses during all three years," according to court documents. "Durinski had already received reimbursement from DFAS or AFGE for most of the travel and other expenses."

Assistant U.S. Attorney James M. Moore said Wednesday that prosecutors gave a lot of credit to the Department of Labor investigators who scoured through countless pages of documents in this case to determine that he was "double paid" in some instances from several agencies.

Durinski faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each of three counts of making false statements and entries in annual reports filed with the Department of Labor.

He is no longer employed by DFAS.

He was represented in court by attorney Tim Zerillo of the Portland firm of Hallett, Zerillo and Whipple.

Durinski will be sentenced after the completion of a presentence investigation report by the U.S. Probation Office.

The law firm of Hallett, Zerillo, and Whipple, P.A. are Maine attorneys representing clients who have been seriously injured, accused of crimes in state and federal court, have business litigation needs or family law and divorce cases. Various attorneys in the firm have been locally and nationally recognized for their achievements, including admission into New England Super Lawyers, the Client's Choice Award from AVVO.com, and the President's Award from the Maine Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. For more information on the firm, please visit www.HZWlaw.com.

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