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May 3, 2011

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(HOUSTON) – Former American Postal Worker’s Union (APWU) officer has been sentenced to prison for stealing union funds, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.

U.S. District Court Judge Lynn N. Hughes sentenced Frankie Sanders, 48, of Houston, to 18 months in federal prison without parole for theft of union funds. Indicted in March 2010, Sanders was convicted by a jury’s verdict following a trial for submitting false travel receipts seeking and obtaining more than $10,000 in union funds for reimbursement. 

Special agents with the U.S. Department of Labor – Office of Labor Management Standards initiated an investigation after an audit of union funds was conducted by APWU National in Washington, D.C. The audit lead to the discovery of 13 false hotel receipts in excess of $10,000 for purported union travel during a six-month period. Follow-up investigation determined the receipts submitted by Sanders for reimbursement were purported to be from the Hilton Garden Inn -  Dallas/Fort Worth and the Hilton Garden Inn - New Orleans, all of which were fraudulent. Receipts submitted for the New Orleans property included alleged stays for time periods during which the hotel was closed to the public due to wind, water and significant roof damages from Hurricane Katrina. In addition, further nvestigation determined that the New Orleans hotel receipts could not have been generated by the Hilton’s system because the Hilton's computers, server and smart chip were not operational during the dates of the alleged stays.   

Sanders began his employment with the U.S. Postal Service in 1982. From 2004 to 2006, Sanders served as the southern regional coordinator of the APWU based in Houston. In December 2005, Sanders was also appointed trustee of the New Orleans local office to deal with union related issues following the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Sanders also served as a national business agent with APWU from 1992 to 2004. 

The court has permitted Sanders to remain on bond pending an order to surrender to a Bureau of Prisons facility to be designated in the near future. In addition to the 18-month sentence, Judge Hughes has also imposed a three-year-term of supervised release and ordered Sanders to pay restitution to the APWU in the amount of $10,078.40.

The investigation leading to Sanders’ indictment and arrest was conducted by U.S. Department of Labor – Office of Labor Management Standards with the substantial assistance of the APWU National in Washington, D.C. The case was prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorneys Tammie Y. Moore and Demetrius K. Bivins.

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