Two Ex-Union Employees Confess to Embezzlement in CO Fed. Court

Two ex-employees of a Greeley, Colo. food workers’ union face up to 5 yrs. in federal prison and fines of $250,000 after pleading guilty to embezzlement on Sept. 3.  But one of the ex-employees says she has information about a separate case under fed. investigation which could impact her sentence.

 

Grace Gonzales Maldonado, former bookkeeper and office secy. for the United Food & Commercial Wrkrs. Local 990, pled guilty to one count of embezzlement.  Barbara Ann Hayes, also a frmr. bookkeeper and secy., also pled guilty to embezzlement.  She said she will provide authorities with information concerning a separate investigation.  Both will be sentenced by U.S. Dist. Judge Robert E. Blackburn (CO, G.W. Bush) in Dec.

 

The plea agreements followed indictments by a federal grand jury in May.  After a 2002 investigation by the Denver Dist. Office of the U.S. Ofc. of Labor Management Standards, Gonzales Maldonado was indicted on 20 counts of embezzling $11,206.80 in union funds.  Hayes was indicted on 35 counts of embezzling $27,248.82. The indictments were handed down in U.S. District Court in Denver.  Hayes, also known as Barbara Ann Bush, is the daughter of the union’s former pres., Ron Bush, who resigned in 2002 after denying allegations of misusing union funds.

 

The two embezzlement cases followed one another during three years. Gonzales Maldonado was hired in August 1999 to keep track of the union’s accounts. She was dismissed in July 2001 for unknown reasons, and Hayes took on the accounting duties.  According to both employees’ plea agreements, Gonzales Maldonado and Hayes both forged checks made out to themselves from union accounts.  Gonzales Maldonado wrote 18 checks ranging from $143.93 to $1,035.80; she pled guilty to embezzling the latter amount.  Hayes forged 35 checks from $211.72 to $2,500; she also pled guilty to embezzling the highest amount.

 

Hayes also has a criminal record, which could increase her prison time. She pled guilty to felony theft in Larimer County in 1996, and later that year, spent 30 days in jail after being convicted for third-degree assault.  The Labor Dept. is still investigating Ron Bush; Steve Bush, the former v.p.; and Katie Salazar, former secy./treasurer.  After the investigation, Local 990 was dissolved and merged back into the statewide union, Local 7 of the UFCW. [Greely Tribune, 9/12/04]