Western Michigan UAW Bookkeeper Pleads Guilty to Thefts

United Auto Workers strikersRobbin Wolff went robbin’ union funds for four years. She may wind up spending even more time in prison. Wolff, former bookkeeper for United Auto Workers Local 383, pleaded guilty on July 28 in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan to embezzling more than $200,000 from the Benton Harbor local and falsifying union records afterward. Wolff faces a five-year sentence this October 28 for embezzlement and a one-year sentence for records fraud. 

UAW Local 383 represents more than 600 employees who make brake components at the Bosch Chassis plant in St. Joseph. That meant a sizable portion of dues had been coming into the union coffers. And Robbin Wolff, 49, a resident of Stevensville, Mich., saw an opportunity to steal. During March 2004-June 2008 she issued herself unauthorized paychecks from the union account and charged personal expenses to a union credit card. As part of her plea agreement, she will have to repay $125,397 to the union and another $75,000 to Fidelity & Deposit Co. of Maryland, a bonding agency. “I’d say that ‘devastating’ is a fair assessment,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean Maltbie said of the impact of the thefts on the union’s finances. The action follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.