Florida Local IBEW Benefits Manager Sentenced for $800K+ Embezzlement

Electrical workersGregory Sims led a double work life. The problem was that he made sure they overlapped. Sims, formerly benefits manager for International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 915, was sentenced in Tampa federal court on January 18 to 30 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release for embezzling more than $800,000 in funds from the Tampa-based union and moving the money to an account at a church where he served as pastor. Sims pleaded guilty in September 2010. As part of his plea agreement, he also must repay the $813,142.17 that he stole through the use of his position as bookkeeper at a benefits consulting firm.

Gregory Sims, now 39, in late 2007 began working for a Tampa/St. Petersburg-area company, Antares Staffing, which was under contract with IBEW Local 915 to manage the records of the union’s health, welfare, pension and vacation funds. In addition to performing his stated job duties, he diverted funds to Crossroads Church in Dade City, Fla., where he served as pastor. An internal union audit in June 2009 revealed that Sims had written 11 checks totaling $813,142.17 to the church, covering his tracks by indicating the payee as entities other than the church. By then, Sims was gone from Antares Staffing, having been fired that January. Following sentencing, Sims’ wife, Lisa, said: “He’s just a man that made a big mistake. He did not practice what he preached.” The problem, however, wasn’t just sin; it was crime.