Ohio Local Carpenters Secretary, Husband Sentenced for Embezzlement

carpenters-logoMarqueeta Tibbs was too clever for her own good. Worse, she had a true believer in her husband. On August 24, Mrs. Tibbs, former office secretary of United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners Local 437, was sentenced in Cincinnati federal court to a year and a day in prison, and three years of supervised release, for embezzling or attempting to embezzle funds from the Portsmouth, Ohio union. She also will have to pay $34,903.53 in restitution and a $100 special assessment. Tibbs had pleaded guilty in January to conspiracy totaling $84,903.53. Also on August 24, her husband, Zeffrey Tibbs, was sentenced to six months of home confinement and five years of supervised release, and ordered to pay a $100 assessment. He had pleaded guilty in February to participating in the scheme. The actions follow a probe by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

According to court records, Marqueeta Tibbs, now 33, during March-October 2010 used her employment as secretary for Local 437 to prepare, endorse and negotiate 25 unauthorized union checks totaling $34,903.53 to herself or her husband. In addition, on November 1, 2010 Mrs. Tibbs electronically transferred $50,000 in funds from the union savings account to the union building fund account, and following that, wrote an unauthorized check from the building account for – you guessed it – $50,000. But the union now was on to her. And it froze that account before she could realize the proceeds from the check. At that point, the local turned the case over to Labor Department investigators who, in turn, referred the case to the Justice Department.

In addition to stealing from her union, Mrs. Tibbs tried to frame the union president. During an interview with investigators, she stated her boss had given her permission to embezzle. As “evidence,” she produced a series of emails from the president. Federal prosecutors weren’t fooled. Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim Mangan wrote in a document prior to sentencing: “Upon further investigation, the emails were fabricated by Marqueeta Tibbs to frame her employer for the theft. In fact, the email address used for the union president was created by Marqueeta Tibbs…days before the interview.” The feds also discovered she had logged on to the president’s fake email address from her mother’s house in Florida. The role of Mr. Tibbs, now 35, in this affair was limited to knowingly receiving funds his wife had ripped off. His judgment, like his choice of marital partner, was less than sound.