Labor Union Treasurer Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement
BOISE - Helen Herold-Roden, 49, of Boise, Idaho, pleaded guilty today to embezzlement and theft of labor union assets, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced. Herold-Roden pleaded guilty pre-indictment to a one-count criminal information filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
According to the plea agreement, from 2002, until July 2014, Herold-Roden was the secretary-treasurer of the Communication Workers of America (CWA) Local Union (LU) 7603 in Meridian, Idaho. CWA LU 7603 members are employed in the telecommunications industry, and include employees of Century Link, AT&T, and the Idaho Statesman. Membership dues are based on a percentage of each member’s individual hourly wage and are electronically deposited into the CWA LU 7603 checking account at DL Evans Bank twice each month.
According to the plea agreement, from 2008, through 2014, Herold-Roden embezzled approximately $138,658 of funds belonging to CWA LU 7603 for her personal use. Herold-Roden accomplished this in two ways. First, as secretary-treasurer, she had check-signing authority for the CWA LU 7603’s checking account at DL Evans Bank. On approximately 28 occasions, she wrote duplicate checks to herself and vendors to pay personal bills. Second, as secretary-treasurer, she had an ATM/debit card for CWA LU 7603’s checking account at DL Evans Bank. On approximately 740 occasions, using the ATM/debit card, she made cash withdrawals, VISA debit card payments, and wire transfers to make personal payments to vendors such as Farmers Insurance, GEICO Insurance, Qwest, Intermountain Gas, Idaho Power, Verizon Wireless, GM Financial, Capital One, Chevron, Purchasing Power, HamLib, Experian, Starbucks, Fred Meyer, Albertson’s, Target, among others.
The charge of embezzlement and theft of labor union assets is punishable by up to five years in prison, a maximum fine of $10,000, and up to three years of supervised release.
Sentencing is set for September 8, 2015, before U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge at the federal courthouse in Boise.
“This defendant occupied a position of trust for workers in the telecommunications industry,” said Olson. “When individuals betray that trust for their own personal gain, this office will work closely with its law enforcement partners to investigate and prosecute.”
The case was investigated by the United States Department of Labor, Office of Labor-Management Standards.
Today's announcement is part of efforts underway by President Obama's Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF), which was created in November 2009 to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices and state and local partners, it’s the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations. Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed more than 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants including more than 2,700 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the task force, visit www.stopfraud.gov.