Debra Lewis has begun serving a 3-yr. prison term for embezzling $521,000 from the Mich. Nurses Assn. At her October sentencing in the U.S. Dist. Ct. in Kalamazoo, Lewis was also ordered to repay the funds she stole during her 18 yrs. with the union. While recovering most of its losses through insurance, the union has still sued Lewis and her husband, Lloyd, in the Ingham County Circ. Ct., claiming that the two spent the funds on home improvements and other items. The union is seeking monetary damages.
Union spokeswoman Carol Feuss also says that the union is tying to improve its accounting procedures to ensure that such theft does not happen again. According to its 2001 LM-2 disclosure form filed with the U.S. Dept. of Labor, an audit failed to uncover the embezzlement. Lewis’s theft was finally uncovered last Feb. during a new audit that discovered 5 cancelled checks missing from the files. When auditors asked Lewis to find them, she went to Meridian Township police and confessed to using her access to the union computerized check-writing system to write checks to herself. She concealed her embezzlement by entering false data about the checks into the computer, and intercepted the forged checks as they came back from the bank. [Lansing State Journal, 12/14/03]