Michael Oldham gambled over his head. He’s now paying a price. Last Tuesday, October 13, Oldham, former president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 1900, was indicted by a federal grand jury for embezzling nearly $39,000 in funds from the Taunton, Mass. (south of Boston) union, making false statements on government financial reporting forms, and evading personal income taxes. He also was arrested that day. The union represents military and civilian Army mechanics at the former Fort Devens in Massachusetts. The indictment follows an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
Oldham, a resident of Whitman, Mass., headed AFGE Local 1900 during 2016-18. His alleged acts of wire fraud and related crimes began shortly after he took over from his predecessor. Insisting that union bank statements be mailed to his home rather than union office, he issued union checks to himself, funneling the money into a personal bank account. Contrary to his assertions, the funds did not go for business purposes but for payment of gambling debts. The grand total of these acts of embezzlement was $38,970. Oldham also allegedly omitted this illegal income from his personal tax returns 2016, 2017 and 2018. Moreover, say prosecutors, he inflated his tax refunds for those years by inventing or inflating deductible business expenses that included air travel, office furniture, and computers. In all, the inflated or fictitious business expenses amounted to $195,000; the fraudulent tax refunds totaled $18,237. The alleged schemes unraveled when the U.S. Department of Labor informed an AFGE national representative of irregularities in local financial reports, triggering DOL and Justice Department investigations.