For more than a decade, Jeni May Hughes managed to avoid detection. Her main concern now is whether she will be able to repay the towering sum of money that she stole. Last Wednesday, on May 10, Hughes, former office manager for United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 155, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas to embezzling more than $400,000 from the Little Rock-based union. She had been charged in a one-count information on April 10 following an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor Management Standards. She faces up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
According to federal prosecutors, Hughes, a resident of Jacksonville (Pulaski County), Ark., during January 2005-March 2016 diverted union funds to her own personal use. At the time of the charge, the missing amount was unspecified. Her plea deal, however, indicated the figure to be $428,874.47. She will be allowed to remain under the supervision of probation officers until sentencing, the date of which has not yet been set.