April Franklin is remorseful. But remorse isn’t going to be enough to keep her out of prison. On July 25, Franklin, formerly office secretary for United Association of Plumbers and Pipe Fitters Local 333 and former bookkeeper for that union’s Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan to 42 months in prison and ordered to pay back the more than $400,000 she stole to pay for personal expenses. She had been charged this past January and pleaded guilty in April. “The damage I have caused the union and the disappointment in myself are the first thoughts when I wake in the morning,” she wrote in a pre-sentencing letter to U.S. District Judge Paul Maloney. “I will, no doubt, spend the rest of my life regretting these actions.”
Federal prosecutors had alleged that Franklin, now 35, a resident of Mason, Mich., diverted $234,331.33 from the training fund of the Lansing-based Local 333, $40,886 from the union general fund and additional unspecified funds, bringing the total to $411,979.37. She also falsified financial records to conceal the thefts. Her debt is large, but she says that she’s working two jobs and plans to pay the money back. The sentencing follows a joint investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards, Office of Inspector General and Employee Benefits Security Administration.