Citrus County Man Pleads Guilty To Receiving Stolen Benefit Payments From The Department Of Veterans Affairs
Orlando, Florida – United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces the unsealing of an indictment charging John Francis Songer (44, DeBary) with eight felony counts of theft from an employee benefit plan. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison on each count.
According to the indictment, Songer was the Apprenticeship Administrator and Coordinator of the Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee and Trust Fund for the Sheet Metal Workers’ Local Union No. 15. Over an almost six-year period, Songer used a credit card belonging to the Fund to make more than $50,000 in unauthorized charges. The credit card bill was paid by checks written on the Fund’s bank account. Songer’s unauthorized charges included personal expenditures for adult entertainment, restaurants, and gambling. He also incurred charges for travel-related items that the Fund was not obligated to pay.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has violated one or more of the federal criminal laws, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.
This case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), with assistance from the United States Marshals Service. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg.