Brian Arnold had total authority over his union’s finances. That’s why the numbers didn’t add up. On October 29, Arnold, former financial secretary of United Steelworkers Local 104M, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York with one count of embezzling more than $33,000 in funds from the Elmira-based union and one count of falsifying financial records to conceal the thefts. Local 104M represents about 75 employees at Anchor Glass Container Corporation. The charges follow an investigation by the FBI and the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
Arnold, now 48, a resident of Elmira, controlled all aspects of union finances. According to prosecutors, he used that control as a license to steal. During April 2016-August 2018, he allegedly embezzled funds in a variety of ways. He made unauthorized purchases totaling $14,639.13 at hotels, restaurants and retail stores with his local debit card; made unauthorized ATM withdrawals totaling $16,940 from the union checking account; and wrote two unauthorized checks to himself from that account totaling approximately $1,445. In order to conceal these thefts, Arnold also falsified union financial records. The charges carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.