President of Two Labor Unions Pleads Guilty in U.S. District Court in Maryland to Embezzling from Unions
Sandra King Embezzled Funds From Two Labor Unions Representing Workers in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia, Using the Money to Pay Her Rent, Buy Liquor and Fund Other Personal Expenses
Baltimore, Maryland – Sandra King, age 62, of Owings Mills, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to embezzlement from a labor organization. King was the president of two separate labor unions, both based in Owings Mills, that represented workers in Montgomery County, Maryland and Washington, D.C. King pleaded guilty to stealing more than $57,000 from those unions.
The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur and U.S. Department of Labor, Washington District Office District Director Mark Wheeler.
According to her guilty plea, from October 2014 through September 2019, King served as president of The Federation of Police and Security (“FOPS”), formerly known as the National Union of Protective Services Association, which represents private security guards in Washington, D.C. and Bethesda, Maryland. King became president after the union’s previous president, J.C. Stamps, pleaded guilty to defrauding FOPS’s employee benefit plan. On October 3, 2014, investigators with the Department of Labor’s Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) met with King to advise her of her fiduciary obligations as the president of FOPS and further instructed King that the union funds were to be used only for the benefit of union members and that the personal use of union funds was a violation of federal law.
From late 2014 to the present, King was also the president of the Alliance of Independent Workers (“AIW”), which represented the communication staff, mortuary staff, medical records staff, and the child fatality staff at the District of Columbia, Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. Like FOPS, King succeeded Stamps as president of AIW.
As detailed in her plea agreement, as president of FOPS and AIW, King was a fiduciary and had decision-making authority. King was the sole signatory on all FOPS and AIW bank accounts. King deposited dues from members of these unions and restitution payments from Stamps into the union bank accounts. Union dues were intended to fund union purposes, including bargaining with employers, litigating grievances, and providing any administrative support required by FOPS and AIW.
According to her guilty plea, from October 2014 through September 2019, while president of FOPS and AIW, King embezzled $50,939.41 from these unions--$20,368.76 from FOPS and $30,570.75 from AIW. King admitted that she used union funds for her personal benefit by writing checks to cash, making cash withdrawals at automated teller machines, and making personal purchases using the union debit card. King used union funds to purchase liquor, pay rent on her apartment, and purchase items at Target, Wal-Mart, Amazon, Apple iTunes, and at grocery stores. She also used union funds to pay for her personal life insurance and automobile insurance. Additionally, King’s personal expenditures often caused overdrafts on FOPS’s bank account, which caused FOPS to incur an additional loss of $6,388.50 in overdraft fees and penalties.
As part of her plea agreement, King will be required to pay restitution in the full amount of the unions’ losses, which is estimated to be at least $57,328.01.
King faces a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison for embezzling from the labor unions. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. U.S. District Judge Stephanie A. Gallagher has scheduled sentencing for October 19, 2020 at 10:00 a.m.
United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended the Department of Labor for their work in the investigation. Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Phelps, who is prosecuting the case.
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