California LIUNA Boss Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

For more than two years, Edward Padilla used his union for personal spending. He’s now likely to spend time in prison. On March 27, Padilla, former secretary-treasurer and business manager for Laborers International Union of North America Local 220, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California to one count of embezzlement in the sum of $168,780 from the Bakersfield construction union. As part of his plea, Padilla agreed to make full restitution. He had been charged on March 3. Sentencing is set for July 10. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

According to prosecutors, Padilla, now 56, a resident of Bakersfield, during September 2012-December 2014 wrote unauthorized checks from a union account that were rubber-stamped with the president’s signature; used two union-issued credit cards to make more than 200 personal purchases; and obtained reimbursements for unauthorized sick leave payments and travel advances. A subsequent Labor Department investigation concluded that the union’s unexplained expenditures were attributable to theft. Padilla faces a maximum five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.