Michael Kelly is a retired railroad man, having worked as a conductor for Crestline CSX for more than 40 years. Unfortunately, he’ll have to spend part of his retirement in federal prison. Kelly was sentenced on October 13 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio to a year and a day in federal prison for embezzling nearly $100,000 from United Transportation Union Local 586. He had served as secretary-treasurer of the Willard, Ohio local. Kelly also will have to pay full restitution to his union and its insurer. So far, he’s paid about $5,300.
Federal prosecutors had alleged that during January 2004-November 2006, Kelly, 61, a resident of Crestline, Ohio, had obtained union funds by making out numerous checks payable to himself and then recording them as “salary and expenses.” On some occasions, he issued checks that had been written by his wife and daughter. To conceal the thefts, he forged the signature of the union president or signed a check and falsely recorded the payee’s name on the union disbursement control ledger. Though his intent was to cover personal expenses and repay the union come payday, in time he got in over his head and was unable to replenish the coffers. Kelly, who pleaded guilty in July, faced up to five years in prison, but U.S. District Judge Lesley Wells reduced his sentence due to his lack of a prior criminal history. The sentence follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.