Sylacauga Woman Indicted for Embezzling from Union Local
BIRMINGHAM – A federal grand jury on Wednesday indicted a Sylacauga woman for embezzling more than $23,000 from a construction trades union local based in Irondale, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and Department of Labor, Office of Labor-Management Standards, District Director Craig Neel.
A 20-count indictment filed in U.S. District Court charges MICHELLE R. CLIFTON, 49, with embezzling from International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers, Local 78, where she worked as office manager and bookkeeper. According to the indictment, Clifton carried out the theft between December 2012 and September 2013 by forging 17 checks drawn on four separate union accounts.
The indictment also charges Clifton with making false statements to Labor Department investigators, claiming a business manager at the union office had directed her to forge the checks and alter union records to hide the payments.
The maximum penalty for both embezzlement of union assets and for making a false statement to a government agent is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The maximum penalty for forged securities of an organization is 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards investigated the case, which Assistant U.S. Attorney J. Patton Meadows is prosecuting.
An indictment contains only charges. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.