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California woman sentenced for embezzling union funds

A 61-year-old woman has been sentenced to two years in a federal prison for embezzling $490,338 in union funds. The sentence was handed down on Feb. 4 according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of California. In October, the Citrus Heights resident admitted that she had stolen the money from the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees Union while employed as the treasurer of the organization's Local 2428.

According to federal prosecutors, the money was stolen between 2008 and 2014. The woman, who had control of bank accounts and check signing privileges, is said to have taken the money by authorizing the union's payroll services provider to make payments to her on a weekly basis. She then concealed her activities by preparing financial documents and reports that did not reflect the union's true expenditures.

After she is released from prison, the woman will serve three years of supervised release. She has also been ordered to make restitution to the union. The judge who sentenced the woman said that her activities had caused the union great harm and gave her until March 18 to surrender and begin serving her sentence.

The embezzlement charge brought against the woman could have resulted in a five-year prison sentence had she been convicted after a jury trial. In cases like these, experienced criminal defense attorneys may seek a negotiated plea agreement. Prosecutors work under immense pressure, and they may be receptive to such requests even when their cases seem strong.

Source: The Sacramento Bee, "Citrus Heights woman sentenced to prison for embezzling almost $500,000 as union treasurer", Vincent Moleski, Feb. 5, 2019

Source: U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of California, "Citrus Heights Resident Sentenced To Two Years In Prison For Embezzlement", Press release, Feb. 4, 2019

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