News and Press Releases

former president pleads guilty to embezzling from
union local at fort leonard wood

January 6, 2011

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that the former president of the National Association of Government Employees local at Fort Leonard Wood pleaded guilty in federal court today to embezzling from the union.

Garold W. Lawson, Sr., 67, of St. Robert, Mo., waived his right to a grand jury and pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Richard E. Dorr to the charge contained in a federal information.

By pleading guilty today, Lawson admitted that he stole at least $67,566 from Local R14-139 of the National Association of Government Employees.

Several hundred employees of E.D.P. Enterprises, which provides food services to the military base at Fort Leonard Wood, are members of the union local. Lawson served as president from before 2004 until he resigned in March 2010 in the course of a compliance audit of Local R14-139 by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Lawson admitted that, from Oct. 31, 2006, to July 27, 2009, he wrote 33 unauthorized checks on the union local’s account, totaling $20,534, made payable to his grandson. All but one of those checks were either cashed or deposited into a joint bank account; one check was deposited into Lawson’s account. Lawson also wrote 13 checks from Dec. 6, 2004, to July 8, 2009, totaling $20,991, made payable to himself. These checks purportedly were for lost wages, sick leave, retirement, and quarterly per diem and mileage expenses, none of which he was entitled to receive.

Lawson also admitted that, beginning July 29, 2005, he wrote himself 54 checks on the union local’s account, totaling $24,526, for mileage and/or per diem reimbursements that had been paid by the national union. He also wrote four checks totaling $1,515 that purportedly were to reimburse him for items that he also sought and received reimbursement for from the national union. In the case of an $860 reimbursement for furniture, Lawson never even incurred the expense.

Under federal statutes, Lawson is subject to a sentence of up to five years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000 and an order of restitution. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas C. Bunch. It was investigated by the Office of Labor-Management Standards, U.S. Department of Labor.



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