On January 31, Harold Ray, former secretary of National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) Branch 469 and former secretary of the NALC Alabama State Association, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama on one count of embezzling $38,565 in union funds. NALC Branch 469 is located in Mobile, while the state association is located in Birmingham. The indictment follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.
The International Brotherhood of Boilermakers training fund had a cash shortfall. And the reason was that the money was going into the pockets of an executive assistant. On Monday, March 17, Angela Heninger, sales and marketing director/office manager for the fund, known as Mobilization, Optimization, Stabilization and Training Trust (MOST), was sentenced in Kansas City, Kan. federal court to 30 months in prison for embezzling more than $400,000 over a more than a half decade. She had pleaded guilty last August 22 to embezzlement after being charged in a superseding information count the previous day. Heninger also was ordered to pay $640,000 in restitution.
On January 23, Linda Ryan, former secretary-treasurer of United Steelworkers Local 208, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas with embezzling $54,416 in funds from the Irving, Tex. union. She pleaded guilty a week later on January 30. The charge and guilty plea follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.
On January 28, Shelly Roanhorse, former treasurer of American Federation of Government Employees Local 3601, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma to three years of probation and ordered to pay $4,565 in restitution for making false statements in the financial records of the Claremore, Okla.-based union. She had pleaded guilty in October after being indicted in September. AFGE Local 3601 represents employees at the federal Indian Hospital in Claremore. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.
Never underestimate the ability of Congress to address a problem through symbolic action. Over the weekend, Sens. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., and Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, introduced a bill, the Housing Finance Reform and Taxpayer Protection Act of 2014, to phase out secondary mortgage lending corporations Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac over a five-year period and replace them with a new insurance-based system. The 442-page draft bill builds on a plan unveiled last June by Sens. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and Mark Warner, D-Va. Like its predecessor, this bill rests on the faulty premise that the main problem is these companies' continued existence. Lawmakers instead should allow them to operate, but without a federal lifeline.
On January 27, Andrea Hobgood, former secretary of International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers Local 58, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana with embezzling funds from the New Orleans-based union in an unspecified amount. The charge follows an investigation by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.
On January 28, James Charleston, former president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 2107, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to one count of mail fraud. The union is based in North Chicago (Lake County), Ill., and represents employees of that city's VA Medical Center. Charleston originally had been indicted in July 2012, along with local officials Jacquelyn Pugh-Rodgers and Mary Craigen, with one count of embezzlement and two counts of mail fraud. In August 2013, he was charged in a superseding indictment with four counts of mail fraud and one count of theft of government property. Pugh-Rodgers already had pleaded guilty last March, and was sentenced in July for mail fraud in an amount of more than $35,000. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.
Fred Correll and his son-in-law, Ryan Sherard, if nothing else, have their bank accounts intact. But even those might not last long. On or just before February 5, Correll and Sherard, two longtime Southern California International Brotherhood of Teamsters leaders, struck plea deals with federal prosecutors related to alleged criminal activity at Teamsters District Council 2, located in Fullerton (Orange County). Correll had been charged the previous week with felony embezzlement of union assets and filing a false income tax return; Sherard had been charged with knowingly omitting information from a union financial statement he filed with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). The plea agreements call for the shortest sentences available.
On January 23, David Westgard, former treasurer of American Postal Workers Union Local 65, was sentenced in the Dakota County, Minnesota District Court to 20 days in prison followed by two years of supervised release for embezzling funds from the Mendota Heights, Minn. union. He also was ordered to pay $4,241 in restitution on top of the $22,719 he already had paid. Westgard had pleaded guilty last November after being charged a year earlier. The actions follow an investigation by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.
On February 12, Kimberly Williams, former secretary-treasurer of Transport Workers Union Local 12, was indicted in the Franklin County, Ohio, Court of Common Pleas on one count of theft from the Columbus union in an amount greater than $1,000 but less than $7,500, and one count of forgery. The indictment follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.