Ryan Forbes can consider himself lucky. What he owes in restitution is a good deal less than what he stole. On November 8, Forbes, formerly secretary-treasurer of Local 1129 of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia to eight months in prison and three years of supervised release for embezzling funds from the Cartersville, Ga. (northwest of Atlanta) union. He also was ordered to make restitution in the amount of $35,952.57. Forbes had pleaded guilty to embezzlement on August 28 following a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
Forbes, 36, a resident of Cartersville, served as local secretary-treasurer during 2005-10. But he also went beyond his duties by making illegal use of his union-issued credit card. Prosecutors had alleged that Forbes used his card 285 times for unauthorized purchases and cash withdrawals. Additionally, he drew upon union funds to pay for personal items, including several computers. Forbes also wrote unauthorized salary checks to himself from the Local 1129 bank account, forging a signature to make the transactions look legitimate. He also submitted false fuel and travel expense vouchers for reimbursement. In all, the thefts totaled over $60,000. U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates stated, “Forbes abused his fiduciary duties and squandered the funds of his fellow union members for his own personal benefit.”