Stephanie DeBoer had financial needs. Apparently, she forgot that dues-paying union members did as well. On November 2, DeBoer, former office manager and bookkeeper for International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 876, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan to embezzling about $307,000 in funds from the Edmore (Montcalm County), Mich.-based union, which represents utility workers throughout Michigan. She had been indicted in May following an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
According to prosecutors, DeBoer over a three-year period wrote unauthorized union checks to herself and deposited the funds in personal bank accounts. She used the money to pay for rent, phone bills and credit card bills from purchases at retailers such as Best Buy, Sam’s Club and Kay Jewelers. A suspicious Labor Department eventually conducted a probe, concluding she was the culprit. According to the plea agreement, DeBoer will have to pay restitution. She faces up to five years in prison and three years of supervised release come sentencing this February 20.