All things considered, Heather Lynn Grover is a lucky woman. The former president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 1557, pleaded guilty in Jefferson County, Colo. district court on April 27 to embezzling roughly $5,500 from the Lakewood-based union. That figure, if anything, was on the low side. She then was sentenced to a two-year diversion after which the felony charge may be reduced to a misdemeanor. AFGE Local 1557 represents about 140 employees of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Denver regional office.
Grover, a VA loan specialist, served as president of the union during November 2006-March 2008. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) conducted a probe starting in January 2009 after Grover’s successor, Joe Birge, alerted the agency to discrepancies in the union bank account. The suspicions proved well-founded. The DOL concluded that she stole nearly $7,900 through unauthorized cash withdrawals and cashed checks. Only $5,500 of that, the department believed, could be ascertained. After the audit, the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office filed criminal charges, noting, “Grover concealed her embezzlement by making false entries on check memo lines.”