Tracy Ford may have had a drug problem. Just as likely, she had a theft problem. Ford, formerly secretary-treasurer of International Association of Machinists Local 1528, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California on February 10 with embezzling nearly $175,000 from the Modesto union and submitting false financial reports to conceal her thefts. She had been indicted on two counts by a federal grand jury. If convicted, she faces a sentence of up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Prosecutors allege that Ford, 47, a resident of Stockton, made $174,891 in unauthorized withdrawals presumably for salary and benefits, but had routed the money to her own personal use. She also used funds to buy health insurance for a former union officer who in turn supplied her with the drug OxyContin. She attempted to cover her thefts by submitting a false annual financial report to the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards, which eventually launched an investigation. The union represents workers at about a dozen area employers, including United Parcel Service, Interstate Brands and International Paper Company.