U.S. Dist. Judge Rebecca B. Smith (E.D. Va., H.W. Bush) sentenced union boss Donnie L. Block on Sept. 6 to a year and a day in federal prison for embezzling more than $38,000 from the Bakery, Confectionery & Tobacco Workers Int’l Union Local 66 in Portsmouth, Va. Smith also was ordered Block to make full restitution. He was indicted for a $38,703 embezzlement in Sept. 2000 and pled guilty in May. Smith said she added the additional day to Block’s sentence to ensure that he spends the time in a federal prison. Sentences less than twelve months are generally served in local jails. Block, who has been free on bond, is scheduled to report to prison within 60 days.
Block was elected Local 66 president in 1995. Reportedly, federal investigators found that Block embezzled membership dues between Oct. 1997 and Oct. 1998. Investigators said Block has a gambling problem. Block wrote and cashed more than 100 checks drawn on the local’s bank account, including four allegedly totaling almost $1,500 that were cashed at a Las Vegas casino. By the end of Oct. 1998, the local’s bank account had been overdrawn. He also wrote two checks to his wife, worth $700. Reportedly, the couple recently separated due to his gambling.[Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk) 9/7/01]