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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Michigan

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, December 2, 2021

Former Treasurer of the Detroit Fire Department Union Pleads Guilty to Stealing Over $200,000 in Union Funds

DETROIT - The former Treasurer of the Detroit Fire Department Union (DFFA) has pleaded guilty to embezzling over $200,000 in union funds, announced Acting United States Attorney SaimaMohsin.

Joining Mohsin in the announcement were Timothy Waters, Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Irene Lindow, Special Agent-in-Charge, Chicago Region, U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General.

Verdine Day, age 62, pleaded guilty to bank fraud as charged in an information filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. United States District Judge George Caram Steeh accepted her guilty plea and set the matter for sentencing on March 24, 2022 at 2pm..

According to the facts alleged in the information and further developed at the plea hearing, Day was hired by the Detroit Fire Department in 1986.  She worked as a firefighter, engineer, and held other positions in the union before she was elected by her peers to Treasurer of the DFFA in November 2015.  She was Treasurer from December 2015 until her retirement from the DFFA and the City of Detroit in September 2019.  

During the four years Day was Treasurer of the DFFA, she fraudulently obtained approximately $167,900.00 of union funds by (1) issuing checks in her name and then changing the name of the payee in the Union’s Quickbooks software; (2) cashing checks which were voided by her in Quickbooks; (3) writing checks made payable to cash; and (4) withdrawing cash from DFFA bank accounts. Day also fraudulently obtained money by diverting funds intended by the DFFA to be a donation to charity.

Day also used DFFA credit cards as her own personal credit cards while she was Treasurer and after she retired. In total, she charged approximately $49,116.17 in personal expenses using DFFA credit cards.  Her purchases on DFFA credit cards included flights, hotel rooms, cruises, car insurance premiums, satellite and cable TV service, national and state parks fees, and furniture. For example, Day used a DFFA union credit card to charge $9,553 for a cruise with Royal Caribbean cruise lines in 2017.  Day also used a union credit card to pay for another Royal Caribbean cruise costing $8,975 on the Liberty of the Seas in 2019.  She used the union’s credit card to pay her bar bill at a casino in Ohio in May 2019 and for a meal at a Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. restaurant in Cozumel, Mexico in 2019.

Acting U.S. Attorney Saima Mohsin commended the work of the FBI and the Department of Labor in conducting this criminal investigation of a corrupt union officer and said, “This prosecution demonstrates that we will not tolerate union officers who abuse their authority and line their own pockets at the expense of the union’s membership. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to root out corruption and fraud involving unions.”

"As treasurer of the Detroit Fire Department Union, Verdine Day had a duty to safeguard the dues paid by men and women who put their lives on the line each day to protect the citizens of Detroit,” said Timothy Waters, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Detroit Field Office. “Today’s guilty plea is an admission she violated her duty and the trust of these brave men and women. The FBI will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to thoroughly investigate anyone who misuses their government position for their own personal benefit.”

“Verdine Day embezzled over $200,000 in union funds in order to personally enrich herself at the expense of dues-paying Detroit Fire Department Union members.  We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to protect the financial integrity of labor organizations,” said Irene Lindow, Special Agent-in-Charge, Chicago Region, U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah Resnick Cohen. The investigation of this case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Labor. 

Day is facing a maximum of 30 years in prison on the bank fraud charge.

Topic(s): 
Public Corruption
Updated December 2, 2021