It’s a familiar syndrome: Union official with gambling problem dips into the till to cover losses. Karen Snelling, formerly treasurer of the Gary Newspaper Guild, is yet another case. Snelling was sentenced on Thursday, March 18 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana to three years probation plus six months of home detention for theft of $18,100 in union funds. She had been indicted in September and pleaded guilty in December to embezzlement from the union, also known as Communications Workers of America Local 34014.
Snelling, 50, a resident of Chicago and former reporter for the Post-Tribune of Merrillville, had served in her union position during January 2000-September 2008. Prosecutors alleged that during the last four years of that period she made unauthorized ATM cash withdrawals and made out an unauthorized union stipend check. Her lawyer, Robert Truitt, told the judge that his client had struggled with gambling addiction and began tapping into union funds after depleting her own. The guilty plea and sentencing follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.