AFSCME Treasurer in Illinois Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

afscme-logoJeffrey Magelitz served as a clinical counselor to state prison inmates. Unfortunately, he may wind up being an inmate somewhere else. On August 17, Magelitz, former treasurer of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 415, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois to embezzling more than $30,000 in union dues and to concealing the thefts in financial reports. He had been indicted last November following a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards. Sentencing is scheduled for December 7. He faces up to six years in prison.

Magelitz, now in his mid-40s, a resident of Chester (Randolph County), Ill., for some 18 years had provided inmates at the Vienna Correctional Center in Vienna (Johnson County), Ill. with counseling services for their problems. He also had a problem of his own: He and his wife were about $225,000 in debt, mainly from credit card use and student loans. Though he was required to pay creditors only about $1,400 during ongoing bankruptcy proceedings, he made a fateful decision to steal from his union to cover the rest. During January 2012-June 2013, say prosecutors, Magelitz “embezzled funds by writing unauthorized checks to himself and to vendors for expenses not related to AFSCME Local 415 business” and “forged the signature of the local’s president and vice president on the checks to conceal his embezzlement.” The thefts totaled $30,811.96. Eventually, union officials discovered “unexplained bookkeeping irregularities,” as a state union spokesman put it, and went to the authorities. Magelitz was terminated on June 15, 2013.