Few observers gave Janett Humphries much of a chance when she decided to take her case to trial. In the end, even she didn’t give herself much of a chance. On November 13, the 63-year-old former president of Service Employees International Union Local 99 pleaded guilty in federal court to charges she had embezzled more than $30,000 from her union to help finance Martin Ludlow’s successful 2003 run for Los Angeles City Council. She used the funds to pay for travel expenses and a cell phone for Ludlow’s campaign staff, plus personal air travel costs. Ludlow stepped down from his council post in 2005 to head the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, but pleaded guilty to a federal conspiracy charge early this year. Sentencing for Humphries is set for next February. She already has pleaded guilty to separate local charges. (Associated Press, 11/14/06).
Ex-Administrator for Northern California Local Pleads Guilty
For James W. James, the going was good – at least until the U.S. Department of Labor completed a three-year investigation. On Friday, November 3, he pleaded guilty in federal court in Oakland, Calif. to five charges of embezzling nearly $180,000 and making false statements in relation to the thefts. James, 52, had served as an administrator for the United Association of Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 159, a union based in Martinez, in suburban Contra Costa County in the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Area. Based on the DOL’s probe, prosecutors accused him of diverting $150,000 from a union health and welfare plan by having a bank employee wire funds to his account, and then altering a bank statement to make it appear as though the money had been deposited. James also had used the same procedure to rip off another $29,000 from a union pension fund. Sentencing is scheduled for next March. (San Francisco Chronicle, 11/4/06).
Atlanta Local Boss Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement
On October 20, Kenneth E. Hilbish, former president of Local 528 of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, pleaded guilty in federal court for the Northern District of Georgia to one count of embezzling union funds in the amount of $21,305. He had been indicted in May for making unauthorized payments to himself and others. He agreed to pay full restitution and a $100 special assessment. The guilty plea follows an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards. (OLMS, 11/8/06).
Financial Secretary in Montana Pleads Guilty to Thefts
On October 31, Michael Kennedy, ex-financial secretary for International Union of Painters & Allied Trades Local 720, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the District of Montana to embezzlement. According to a previously sealed indictment, Kennedy, who had served in his position from April 2003 to June 2005, stole $15,612.81 in local funds by writing or cashing 84 unauthorized checks to himself and third parties. He also was charged with forging securities and making false entries in records of the Butte local. (OLMS, 11/08/06).
Ex-Treasurer in Illinois Pleads Guilty to Filing False Report
On October 11, Richard V. Weber, former treasurer for Glaziers Local 1164, pled guilty in federal court for the Central District of Illinois to filing false reports to the Department of Labor. The indictment alleges that roughly from January 2000 to August 2003 he concealed the embezzlement and misapplication of funds of the Peoria, Ill.-based union, an affiliate of the International Union of Painters & Allied Trades. (OLMS, 11/8/06).
Texas Business Agent Charged with Embezzlement
On November 1, Anthony Price, former business agent and recording secretary for Local 1316 of the International Longshoremen’s Association, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas with 15 counts of embezzling $10,301 in union funds. (OLMS, 11/08/06).
Former Kentucky Vice-President Sentenced for Embezzlement
On October 27, Chiquita Durr, former vice president of Local 5-832 of the Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical and Energy Workers International Union, was convicted in federal court on one count of embezzling local funds and was sentenced to six months home detention and three years probation. She had pleaded guilty in July to embezzling $2,244 in funds from the Ludlow, Ky. union, located across the Ohio River from Cincinnati. She will be required to make $1,744.39 in restitution payments. (OLMS, 11/8/06).