On June 29, Michelle Clifton, former office manager/bookkeeper for International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers Local 78, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama with one count of embezzlement in the amount of $23,014 from the Irondale (suburban Birmingham), Ala.-based construction trades union, plus 17 counts of forged securities and two counts of making fraudulent statements. The 20-count indictment follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
According to prosecutors, Clifton, 49, a resident of Sylacauga, Ala., during December 2012-September 2013, forged 17 checks drawn upon four separate union accounts. In addition, she allegedly made false statements to Labor Department investigators, claiming that a business manager at the union office had ordered her to forge the checks and then falsify financial statements. Fighting this one will be a risky act. The maximum sentence for the embezzlement charge and each false statement charge alone is five years in prison, plus a $250,000 fine.