Michigan Utility Workers Financial Secretary Sentenced for Theft

Utility workersOn December 13, Robert Cole, former financial secretary of Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA) Local 124, was sentenced in Grand Rapids federal court to two years probation, the first six months of which must be spent in home detention, for theft from the Irons, Mich. (Lake County) union. He also was ordered to pay full restitution and a $150 special assessment. He pleaded guilty last August. Cole, 44, had resigned his post at UWUA Local 124, which represents area power company employees, left his post in 2009. Soon after, union officials discovered he had converted $11,605.59 in union funds to his own use either by issuing unauthorized checks to himself or making unauthorized use of the union credit card. Cole also had falsified union financial records to conceal the thefts. The guilty plea and sentence follow a probe by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.