For about three years, Stephanie DeBoer stole from her union. She may be lucky her sentence won’t last much longer than that. On February 20, DeBoer, former office manager and bookkeeper for International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 876, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan to four years in prison for embezzling $307,563 from the Edmore (Montcalm County), Mich.-based union. She also will have to undergo probation following release and make full restitution. DeBoer had pleaded guilty last November after being indicted in May. The actions follow an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
According to court records, DeBoer, a resident of Cedar Springs, Mich., from sometime in 2012 until September 2015 embezzled funds from the union by writing unauthorized checks to herself and others, making unauthorized payroll deposits, making unauthorized purchases and using union funds to pay off credit card bills; paying off credit cards alone accounted for over $89,000 of the take. She also made more than $54,000 in unauthorized charges on union-issued credit cards of two union officers. Eventually, the union reported financial shortfalls to the Department of Labor which in turn eventually concluded DeBoer was the culprit. At sentencing last week, James Vandenberg, Special Agent-in-Charge for DOL’s Office of Inspector General, put it this way: “Stephanie DeBoer abused her fiduciary responsibility as the office manager and bookkeeper by embezzling more than $300,000 from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local Union 876.”