Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge George L. Russell III sentenced Cora Carper, age 32, of Churchton, Maryland, today to 37 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for embezzling from a labor union’s political action committee. Judge Russell also entered an order that Carper pay $495,286 in restitution, the amount remaining from what she embezzled. Carper’s family previously paid $7,300.
The sentence 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 (DOL).
According to her plea, Carper was a secretary with the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers, and processed disbursement requests for the Insulators Political Action Committee (PAC) fund. Disbursement requests from the PAC fund had to be made in writing and only by certain officers of the Insulators local. For each requested disbursement, Carper was supposed to print a check from the PAC fund account that contained the electronic signatures of the Insulators general president and 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 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, and deposited at least $180,000 into her personal bank accounts. To cover up her embezzlement, Carper falsely indicated in the computerized ledger that the checks were written for donations to political candidates or to reimburse work expenses.
In early 2011, the Insulators general president confronted Carper about her embezzlement. 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 DOL revealed that Carper’s embezzlement far exceeded her limited admission, with $502,586 in checks attributed to Carper’s embezzlement.
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 praised DOL, Office of Labor - Management Standards for its work in the investigation and thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristi N. O’Malley, who prosecuted the case.