Mike Music is a corrections officer. He soon may be an inmate. This past December, Music, a corrections officer with the King County (Wash.) Corrections Guild, was charged in King County Court with embezzling a little over $1,300 from his union, where he had served as treasurer. Yet the alleged sum is a pittance compared to the $150,000 that he and four other former members of the Tukwila (near Seattle)-based guild had been accused in 2016 of stealing. Music pleaded not guilty at his arraignment on January 8. The charge follows an 18-month investigation by Tukwila police.
According to prosecutors, Music, now 49, a resident of Tacoma and a 21-year veteran of the King County Corrections Department, made a series of suspicious transactions during late 2014 through September 2015 and which may have begun earlier than that. That’s because he had help from four other union members who, like him, had been ousted in the spring of 2016 and placed on administrative leave from their jobs in July of that year. Music, the only person thus far to be criminally charged, is accused of stealing only a fraction of the suspected take because the guild is a private association. As such, King County prosecutors are bound by a three-year statute of limitations for most crimes against property. The thefts were discovered in late 2015, when the guild president, suspicious about a financial shortfall, hired an outside auditor. That led to a police investigation and the criminal charge. Court papers put it this way: “Music’s repeated acts of embezzlement were never especially grandiose, but more in the nature of day-to-day expenses along with travel and entertainment.”