Former Seattle Bookkeeper Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

Tara Mullins committed theft, but at least she was quick to recognize the error of her ways.  On January 15, the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild ex-bookkeeper pleaded guilty in federal court to embezzling almost $42,000 from the organization.  A resident of the Seattle suburb of Renton, Wash., Mullins had been indicted for forging the guild officer’s name onto checks from an employee benefit plan, depositing them into a personal account and then transferring the money into a PayPal account.  She admitted to engaging in the thefts for almost a year.


Mullins, 37, was charged with embezzlement shortly after being fired in November 2005.  She faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.  Such punishment would seem unwarranted, given that in addition to pleading guilty, she has paid the court $77,000 to cover full restitution and guild auditing expenses.  She is scheduled for sentencing on April 18.  (Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 1/16/08).


Eastern Kentucky Local President Sentenced for Embezzlement

Terry Howell had family problems, but he’s still going to pay a price.  On January 14, Howell, former president of Local 8-505 of the United Steelworkers of America, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky to three years of supervised probation, including six months of house arrest, for embezzling $13,210 in union funds.  During 1999-2006, he served as president of the union, which represents about 300 hourly employees of Marathon Petroleum’s Catlettsburg refinery near Ashland, Ky. 


According to court records, Howell during March 2003-September 2006 used a union credit card to make unauthorized purchases for gasoline, auto repairs, vacations and other personal expenses.  His former mother-in-law wrote a letter in his defense to U.S. District Judge David Bunning arguing that the embezzlement was “solely attributable to the fact that he has a son with a serious drug problem.”  Howell had been indicted last August and pleaded guilty in October.  He’s already made all but $1,947 of the restitution he owes, and will be allowed to pay the remainder in $125 installments, plus a $2,000 fine.  (Ashland Daily Independent, 1/15/08).