10/31/07

Feds charge UAW official with embezzlement

The financial secretary of the United Auto Workers local 1516 in Middletown (DE) has been indicted by a federal grand jury on 12 embezzlement charges. According to prosecutors, Stephen Priest stole over $97,800 from the union that represents 200 employees at Johnson Controls for personal use between Sept. 2005 and May 2006.

Union officials could not be reached for comment.

According to court papers, Priest was in charge of paying bills for the union, depositing checks into union accounts and maintaining the local’s financial records. Assistant U.S. Attorney Shannon T. Hanson charges Priest, who was authorized to co-sign union checks, wrote 57 unauthorized checks payable to himself and forged the signature of the union president on them.

Court papers allege Priest also wrote checks to pay his own bills – including those for a cell phone, the power company, car payments and several credit card accounts – again by forging the union president’s signature.

Priest is set to appear in court to hear the charges on Nov. 1. The court docket did not indicate if he has retained an attorney. If convicted, Priest faces up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine for each of the 12 counts plus restitution to the union.

(delawareonline.com)

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