Waterfront guards at the Port of Baltimore might not have suspected a large portion of their dues were leaking right into the bank accounts of two of their top officials. They know now. Early this month, Paul S. Peters II and Brian Armentrout, the respective former president and recording secretary of Waterfront Guard Association (WGA) Local 1852, pleaded guilty in federal court to embezzling as much as $350,000 in union funds. Peters pleaded guilty on July 9; Armentrout had pleaded guilty two days earlier.
Paul Peters, 31, a resident of Dundalk, Maryland, had served as president of WGA Local 1852, an independent union which represents security guards and watchmen. During January 2002-September 2005, say prosecutors, he embezzled more than $300,000 from the union’s pension & welfare plans and from the general operating fund, transferring the money to his own bank accounts. He then would misrepresent the expenditures by entering them in union records under categories such as “Operating Expenses” and “Reimbursements of Pensioner’s Medical Payments.” Peters used the money to pay for such items as home improvements, mortgage payments, stock transactions, motor vehicles and boarding costs for horses. Brian Armentrout, 32, a Baltimore resident, was the lesser of the perpetrators. During the period January 2003-June 2004, he deposited, cashed and transferred around $34,000 in union funds to his own use. Peters faces at maximum a pair of five-year prison sentences, while Armentrout faces a single-five-year sentence.