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BIRMINGHAM – A federal judge on Thursday sentenced the former president of the Communications Workers of America, Local 3901, in Oxford, Ala., to one year and a day in prison for embezzling from the organization, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Robert O. Posey and U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Labor-Management Standards, Investigator Hollis Lindley Jr.
U.S. District Court Judge Virginia Emerson Hopkins sentenced MICHAEL LACKEY, 44, of Bremen, Ga., on five counts of bank fraud and one count of embezzlement and theft of union funds. Lackey pleaded guilty to the charges in January. The judge ordered Lackey to repay $69,193 to the local and to forfeit that same amount to the government as proceeds of illegal activity. He must report to prison Sept. 11.
Local 3901 members elected Lackey president in October 2008 and he remained in that position until October 2014. As president, Lackey exercised control over the local’s finances, including its accounts at Wells Fargo and Regions banks.
According to his guilty plea, Lackey executed a scheme to defraud the banks and Local 3901 between February 2010 and October 2014 by using his position as Local 3901 president and acting treasurer to conduct unauthorized transactions to take money from the CWA local’s bank accounts and use it for his personal benefit. Those transactions included writing checks to himself from Local 3901 accounts for unauthorized or nonexistent travel expenses, using debit cards he obtained on accounts for the local at both Regions and Wells Fargo for personal expenses, and making cash withdrawals from Local 3901 accounts at both banks for his personal use.
Lackey attempted to conceal his theft by failing to maintain records of his unauthorized transactions and by failing to seek approval for expenditures, as required by federal law and the Local 3901 constitution and bylaws.
Local 3901 members began to suspect in summer 2014 that Lackey had stolen money from the union when a union check bounced. About the same time, Lackey told a national CWA AFL-CIO representative that he had taken out a personal loan using the union’s bank accounts and assets as collateral, and had failed to make the loan payments, leading the bank to collect from the union’s finances, according to court documents.
The U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Labor-Management Standards, investigated the case, which Assistant U.S. Attorney Xavier O. Carter Sr. prosecuted.