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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Maryland

Friday, April 5, 2013

Former Employee Pleads Guilty To Embezzling Funds From Labor Union

Baltimore, Maryland – Cora Carper, age 32, of Churchton, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to embezzlement from a labor union, in connection with a scheme to steal at least $200,000 from the union’s political action committee.

The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein and District Director Mark Wheeler of the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Labor – Management Standards.

According to her plea, Carper was a secretary with the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers, assigned to perform clerical tasks associated with the operation of the Insulators Political Action Committee (PAC) fund.  Carper’s duties included processing disbursement requests. Disbursement requests had to be made in writing and only the Insulators General President, General Secretary-Treasurer, Political Director and officers of the Insulators local unions had authority to request disbursements from the PAC fund.  Once Carper received a written request for disbursement from an appropriate official, she was supposed to print a check from the PAC fund account that contained the electronic signatures of the Insulators General President and General Secretary-Treasurer and forward that check to the recipient.  Carper also entered PAC fund receipts and deposits into a computerized ledger, made deposits in the PAC fund, and received and reconciled monthly PAC fund bank statements against the electronic ledger.

Carper admits that between June 2009 and February 2011, she printed more than 300 checks totaling approximately $502,586, from the PAC fund account made payable to “cash,” “cash reimbursement,” or “petty cash.”  Union officials stated that Carper printed and cashed the checks, without authorization, often cashing multiple PAC fund checks the same day. Carper endorsed the back of all but 13 of the more than 300 checks she cashed. During the time of the embezzlement Carper deposited at least $180,000 into her personal bank accounts.  To cover up her embezzlement, Carper made false entries in the computerized ledger indicating that the checks were written for donations to political candidates, expense reimbursements or expenses for conferences.  In fact, the checks were made payable to cash, cashed by Carper and then used for her personal benefit.

In early 2011 Carper was confronted about her embezzlement by the Insulators General President.  Carper admitted that she had taken $7,300, but denied further embezzlement.  Her family paid the Insulators $7,300.  A subsequent internal investigation by the Insulators and by the Department of Labor, Office of Labor - Management Standards revealed that Carper’s embezzlement far exceeded her limited admission, with $502,586 in checks attributed to Carper’s embezzlement.

Carper faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000.  As part of her plea agreement, Carper will be required to pay restitution in the full amount of the victim’s losses, which will be determined at sentencing.  U.S. District Judge George L. Russell III has scheduled Carper’s sentencing for June 4, 2013, at 9:30 a.m.

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.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Labor - Management Standards for its work in the investigation.  Mr. Rosenstein praised Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristi N. O’Malley, who is prosecuting the case.

Updated January 26, 2015