For six years, Thomas Jon Witham's thefts went undetected. Then the law of averages caught up. Witham, 40, a resident of Mason City, Iowa, was charged with embezzling more than $52,000 from International Brotherhood of Boilermakers Lodge 106-D where he had served as secretary-treasurer. The alleged thefts from the Mason City local took place during September 2002-August 2006. Witham appeared in court on July 28 after the federal grand jury indictment was unsealed. He faces a five-year prison sentence.
Joseph Michael Johnson thought with a little help from union apprentices, he had the system beat. In the end, the system won. Johnson, formerly secretary-treasurer and business manager for International Brotherhood of Boilermakers Local 687, was sentenced on May 6 in U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina for embezzling more than $100,000 from the Charleston Heights, S.C. union. He will have to serve a year and a day in prison followed by three years of supervised release. He also must pay $46,653 in residual restitution plus a $100 fine.
Crime didn’t pay for Stephen Snyder.On January 22, Snyder, financial secretary of Local 5724 of the United Steelworkers, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to one count of embezzlement from his union.Prosecutors had alleged that during February 2005-August 2006 he diverted $78,893.47 from the Clarington, Ohio local’s strike benefit fund to his personal bank account.Snyder, a resident of the Wheeling, W.V. area, faces a maximum of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.The guilty plea follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.(WOWK-TV, 1/28/09; Associated Press, 1/28/09).
On September 10, Joseph Michael Johnson, former secretary-treasurer of International Brotherhood of Boilermakers Lodge 687, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina on one count of embezzling $102,519 in funds from the CharlestonHeights union.The indictment follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.(OLMS, 9/19/08).
On July 28, Darrell Pendergrass, former president of International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 699, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia to one year in prison and three years probation for embezzling union funds.He also will have to pay $70,336 in restitution plus any back taxes.Pendergrass previously made restitution in the amount of $53,000.He pleaded guilty in April to embezzlement and tax evasion.The sentencing follows a joint investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and the IRS.(OLMS, 8/18/08).
North Carolina Office Manager Indicted for Embezzlement
Kyle Batts tried to make ends meet on his union credit card.He wasn’t thinking ahead.On February 27, Batts, 38, former secretary-treasurer of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 738, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas to embezzling $40,580.83 in union assets.Roughly during the period April 2003-August 2006, he used a union credit card to pay for personal expenses.The union is based in Longview, about an hour and a half east of Dallas.The guilty plea follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.(States News Service, 2/27/08; OLMS, 3/6/08).
Tennessee Local President Sentenced for Embezzlement
On October 2, Danny Beyser, ex-financial secretary of United Mine Workers Local 1638, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia to embezzlement.He had been charged in June with one count of embezzling $83,274.39 in funds from the Moundsville, West Va.-based union.The guilty plea follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.(OLMS, 10/12/07).
Alabama Business Manager Indicted for Embezzlement
On May 3, Walter Fisher, former treasurer for Local 1949 of the United Transportation Union, pleaded guilty in federal court for the District of Maryland to one count of embezzling funds from the Ellicott City-based union in an amount greater than $30,000 but less than $70,000.The guilty plea follows an investigation by the Labor Department.(OLMS, 5/30/07).
Former Secretary-Treasurer of Pittsburgh-Area Local Sentenced
John T. Daley for four years embezzled nearly $1.2 million from the New York State Nurses Association, the 34,000-member union of which he had been chief financial officer.Now he’s going to pay a price.On March 30, Daley received a prison sentence in Albany County Court of three-and-a-third years to 10 years.He also will have to make restitution.Daley pleaded guilty in January to second-degree grand larceny, after initially claiming innocence due to impaired judgment from overuse of prescription drugs.The sentencing follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and the police department of the Town of Colonie, located north of Albany.(OLMS, 4/23/07).
Business Manager of Texas Local Indicted for Embezzlement
Of all the motives for corruption by union officials and members, few are more disheartening, or these days common, as the need to cover gambling losses.Donald Lee Travis, a retired officer with the Frederick, Md. police force, is the latest example.Travis, 67, pleaded guilty in Frederick County Circuit Court on February 6 to embezzling at least $45,000 from his Fraternal Order of Police lodge to support a slot-machine habit, receiving a suspended five-year sentence.A 30-year veteran of the force, he admitted he stole from the lodge, which he managed during 2004 and 2005.He regularly played the slot machines at Charles Town Races and Slots, located in nearby Charles Town, West Virginia, spending around $500 to $600 per trip.Travis should have bet on the horses – or found something else to do.(Associated Press, 2/7/07).
Ex-Milwaukee Local Bosses Charged in Superseding Indictment