Former union official admits to embezzling workers’ funds
MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - A former union official Monday pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $18,000 from Steelworkers AFL-CIO Local 7750.
Douglas McArthur Kelley admitted that as secretary-treasurer of the union from June 2017 to Oct. 30, 2019, he embezzled $18,012 by issuing himself unauthorized checks, electronic bank transfers and by making unauthorized purchases.
As part of the plea bargain, prosecutors have agreed to recommend five years’ probation.
An audit turned up financial improprieties. According to Kelley’s written plea agreement, he initially maintained that the money was for union business but was unable to provide receipts or witnesses to substantiate the claims.
Kelley later admitted to making 46 unauthorized electronic transfers from the union’s checking account totaling $14,255. He also admitted to embezzling $3,243 through nine checks and counter withdrawals.
In addition, Kelley admitted that he made 23 unauthorized transactions totaling $514 from a debit card that was linked to the union’s checking account.
Finally, Kelley admitted that he forged the signature of Local 7750 President Michael Freeman on at least 11 checks made out to himself.
According to the plea agreement, Kelley made false statements to law enforcement investigators regarding the number of union checks he received, the number remaining when he left the union and whether the union checks he received were pre-signed with Freeman’s name.
As part of the plea agreement, Kelley has agreed to pay $8,000 of the money he owes by the time of his sentencing date.
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