Teresa Wilson last week found out the high cost of gambling. On September 7, Wilson, the former office manager of United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 41, was sentenced in Missoula, Montana federal court to three years in prison for embezzling between $170,000 and $220,000 from the Butte-based local and the area Central Labor Council (CLC). She also was ordered to pay nearly $125,000 in restitution. Wilson had been indicted in March for embezzlement, bank fraud and identity theft, and pleaded guilty in May following a investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS).
Wilson, a resident of Butte, had been an employee of Plumbers Local 41 since 1997. For the last eight years, she also had served as president of the Central Labor Council for southwest Montana unions. Unfortunately, Wilson also used her respective positions to embezzle. OLMS investigators conducted a review of the labor organizations’ finances after discovering irregularities in annual reports. The audit concluded that Wilson, over a six-year period, had stolen union funds. She diverted $177,337 in CLC checks, and another $237,000 in cash deposits, to her use, forging signatures of the labor organization’s officers. She laundered more than $100,000 in checks from the local general fund, and nearly $88,000 more from its apprenticeship fund, through the CLC. The Labor Department then referred the case to Justice Department prosecutors. Wilson eventually admitted that she stole much, if not all, of the money to cover her gambling losses.