Secretary of SMART Local in Washington State Sentenced

Considering what he stole, Gregory Normand should be feeling a bit lucky. On December 4, Normand, former secretary-treasurer of Local 324 of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART), Transportation Division, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington to 18 months in prison for embezzling funds from the Marysville, Wash.-based union. He also was ordered to pay $217,260 in restitution. Normand had been indicted in October 2017 for embezzling $443,000, and had pleaded guilty to one count of embezzlement and two counts of making false statements this past July. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

According to prosecutors, Gregory Normand, now 58, a resident of Marysville (Snohomish County, near Seattle), used his union position, which he had held for six years, to steal funds in a variety of ways. First, he reimbursed himself for monthly expenses presumably incurred in relation to union business, when in reality he had not missed any work time during those months. Second, he wrote local checks to himself while routing electronic transfers for identical sums to his own personal bank account, effectively paying himself twice. Third, he altered checks that he had written to himself, typically making them out for thousands of dollars more than authorized. Finally, he wrote duplicate reimbursement checks to himself to compensate for lost personal income garnished by the IRS. To conceal his thefts, Normand altered information on financial reporting forms before submitting them to the Department of Labor. In May 2017, when a union auditor approached him over the issue of missing funds, Normand lied about the nature and extent of his thefts. The union eventually requested a DOL probe. Evidence of theft would point to Normand, who was criminally charged that October.

SMART Local 324 for the time being is broke as a result of Normand’s embezzlement. Speaking at his sentencing, union members expressed their frustration. “We went without so Normand could have his $250,000 a year,” said one member. A second member spoke of Normand’s “lies, deceit and betrayal.” To his credit, Normand has repaid about $30,000 of the stolen money. But he’s still got a long way to go to make things whole. “Union members trusted this defendant to be a careful steward of their union dues. Instead, he lined his pocket with their hard-earned wages,” said U.S. Attorney Annette Hayes. “I commend the Department of Labor, Office of Labor-Management Standards, for its dogged efforts to ensure that union officials comply with the law and are good stewards of union funds.”