U.S. Dist. Judge Thomas J. McAvoy (N.D.N.Y., Reagan) sentenced Nancy Groome on Mar. 12 and Daniel Vallee on Mar. 11 for the embezzlement of funds from Civil Serv. Employees Ass’n Local 316 in Albany, which is part of Am. Fed’n of State, Co. & Mun. Employees Local 1000. Groom and Vallee served as Local 316’s secretary-treasurer and president, respectively.
From July 1993 to Nov. 1999, Groome wrote 319 unauthorized union checks, totaling $111,476.48, the majority of which were made payable to herself. Some were to third party venders for union-related training trips that she never took. She spent the funds, in part, on vacations, groceries, auto insurance, gifts to others, and other living expenses. She pled guilty July 11. She was secretary-treasurer from 1980 until Mar. 2000.
In 1998, Vallee discovered that Groom was embezzling from the local, but instead of taking action against her, Vallee began embezzling himself. He wrote checks drawn on the local’s bank accounts and by accepting reimbursements far exceeding legitimate union-related expenditures he made. From May 1998 to Jan. 2000, he embezzled $19,300.09. He used the funds for personal expenses, including his mortgage, auto repairs, credit card bills, and gifts to others. Vallee pled guilty Nov. 9. The thefts were discovered during an audit by Local 1000.
McAvoy sentenced Groom to a year and a day in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. He sentenced Vallee to six months imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release of which six months will be home detention. According to the U.S. Atty.’s Office in Albany, McAvoy noted at sentencing that Groome’s actions undermined the community’s confidence in unions and that justice demanded that she be sentenced for the mistrust that she created. McAvoy told Vallee that as the person in charge of the union, he was supposed to be watching for illegal activity on the local’s behalf, but instead of protecting the union once he discovered Groome’s embezzlements, the judge noted, Vallee elected to do the same thing. McAvoy further ordered both ex-bosses to pay full restitution and barred them from future union office. [USAO N.D.N.Y. 3/12/02; Times-Union (Albany) 3/13/02]