LONDON, Ky. (WYMT) – A Perry County woman pleaded guilty to a US judge on Monday, June 28, of embezzling union money.
According to court documents, Linda Shepherd, 54, was employed as the finance secretary of United Steelworkers (USW) Local 14691, the Appalachian Regional Healthcare Employees Union, in Hazard from April 2011 to March 2018. According to court documents, Shepherd embezzled a total of $ 39,491.69 in union funds between May 2011 and March 2018.
“Linda Shepherd used her position as finance secretary to steal money from a union that represents workers in her community,” said Carlton S. Shier, IV, acting US attorney for the eastern borough of Kentucky. “In order to enrich itself, it has abused the trust placed in it and damaged the financial well-being of an organization that is supposed to protect the interests of its members. Now she is facing the consequences of her crime.
As the finance secretary, she was responsible for paying the union’s bills and keeping their financial records. The USW policy states that a union official is paid for the personal time he spends on union business. “Lost time” is only paid when an official is allowed to miss work in order to conduct union business. Shepherd admitted stealing union funds by paying herself for lost time despite not losing any wages. Shepherd also admitted that she used union money to pay for meals and pay herself for unapproved services.
“Protecting the financial integrity of unions and combating fraud are high priorities for the US Department of Labor,” said Megan Ireland, US Department of Labor district director, Office of Labor-Management Standards. “While the vast majority of union officials do their jobs diligently and without incident, Linda Shepherd has abused the trust placed in her by USW membership and embezzled over $ 39,000 from the USW while on a salary at the expense of her employer and the union the USW and its members moved in. OLMS will continue to work with our partners to uncover criminal violations and take appropriate legal action if someone improperly exploits their position in the union to enrich themselves without regard to the best interests of union members. “
Shepherd is due to be sentenced on November 1st. You face a maximum of five years in prison and a fine of up to 250,000 US dollars.
The investigation was carried out by the Ministry of Labor.
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