South Jersey Postal Union Secretary Pleads Guilty to Thefts

Robert Peter’s use of his union as a personal piggy bank was brief but lucrative. Now it’s officially over. On August 8, Peter, former secretary-treasurer of American Postal Workers Union Local 526, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey to embezzling $34,500 in funds from the Blackwood (Camden County), N.J.-based union. Local 526 represents about 900 postal employees at various locations in Southern New Jersey. The guilty plea follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

According to court records, Peter, now 58, a resident of Sicklerville, N.J., during May 1-June 13, 2018 used two methods to steal union funds. First, he made unauthorized use of the union president’s signature stamp to issue to himself eight union checks totaling $22,500. Second, also without authorization, he withdrew $12,000 in cash from a number of machines in Atlantic City with his union ATM card, a situation suggesting he was attempting to cover gambling losses. Grand total: $34,500. Peter faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is set for November 26.