Takisha Brown Dorsey virtually cleaned out her union treasury. Within several months, she might be cleaning prison kitchen pots and pans. On March 9, Dorsey, formerly chairwoman of the District of Columbia Department of Youth and Rehabilitation Services union, an affiliate of the Fraternal Order of Police, pleaded guilty in Washington, D.C. federal court to wire fraud in the theft of more than $180,000 from the roughly 240-member union over a nearly three-year period. As part of her agreement, she agreed to make full restitution and forfeit assets in an identical amount. Sentencing is scheduled for June 1.
Dorsey, 41, a resident of Waldorf, Md., chaired the Fraternal Order of Police-DYRS during January 2012-December 2015. In February 2014, she removed a union by-law requiring a second signature be on union checks. That move, alleged prosecutors, paved the way for embezzlement. In November 2015, a suspicious union executive board gave her a “no confidence” vote. It was a sound hunch. Board members soon examined the union checking account at Bank of America, discovering a balance of only $277, even with $106,000 having been deposited during the year. More bad news followed. When Dorsey resigned the following month, the union was around $92,000 in debt. The executive board reported the shortfall to federal investigators, who concluded that from April 2013 to December 2015 Dorsey had withdrawn, debited or transferred a combined $183,590 in union funds for unauthorized purposes.
Rather than take a losing case to trial, Takisha Dorsey and her lawyer made a plea deal with Justice Department prosecutors. She would serve prison time, most likely in the 15-to-21-month range stipulated by federal sentencing guidelines, and also pay full restitution and forfeit assets. While not guaranteeing a prison sentence, U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton told her at the plea hearing, “Prepare yourself for that potential reality.” Dorsey admitted: “I knew what I was doing was wrong. I had the ability to stop.” Well, why didn’t she? That’s a question only she can answer.