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.
Johnson, 51, a resident of Charleston, for two years starting in July 2004 wrote more than 120 union checks worth $102,519 to various apprentices for work never performed. He then endorsed the checks with forged signatures and deposited them into his own account. The scheme unraveled when the parent union conducted an audit of the local books. Johnson was indicted last September and pleaded guilty in January. The indictment and guilty plea follow an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards. (OLMS, 5/8/09; Charleston Post and Courier, 5/8/09).