News and Press Releases

Defendant Will Be Barred from Holding Union Leadership Position for Thirteen Years

October 5, 2007

THOMAS R. EHLIS, 55, of Federal Way, Washington, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to two years of probation for Embezzlement and Theft of Labor Union Assets. U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour imposed the sentence, ordering EHLIS to hold no union office or be employed by a union for 13 years. EHLIS has already repaid the $5,619 he took from union funds.

According to the plea agreement signed May 28, 2007, EHLIS was a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1769, for 32 years. The union represents workers who are locomotive engineers, bridge operators or system engineers for Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) or Amtrak in Washington State. The union local has approximately 50 members. From 1995 to 2001, EHLIS served as Recording Secretary of the union local, and from 2001 to 2003, he was Financial Secretary of the local. From July of 2003, until August 2006, EHLIS was Local Chair of Local 1769. During 2002 and 2003, EHLIS endorsed three dues checks and deposited them in his personal bank account, and he made cash withdrawals from the union bank account for his own personal expenses.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Labor Management Standards and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Karyn Johnson.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110.

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