Former Union Official Sentenced to Prison for Embezzling Money from Union
Defendant also Ordered to Pay $140,877.56 in Restitution to Union
ALBUQUERQUE – Leonard Bridge, 45, of Albuquerque, N.M., was sentenced this morning to 12 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release for his conviction for embezzling assets from a labor organization. Leonard also was ordered to pay $140,877.56 in restitution to the International Union of Elevator Constructors, Local 131 (Union).
Bridge was indicted in Feb. 2014, and charged with 20 counts of embezzlement of assets from a labor organization. According to the indictment, Bridge embezzled money belonging to the Union on 20 separate occasions between April 2009 and Aug. 2011. Bridge perpetrated his embezzlement scheme by writing checks on the Union’s bank account, making cash withdrawals with the Union’s debit card, and making cash withdrawals from the Union’s bank account. During the period charged in the indictment, Bridge was employed as the Union’s business manager.
Bridge entered a guilty plea to Count 1 of the indictment on Sept. 2, 2014. In his plea agreement, Bridge admitted while he was the Union’s business manager, he was responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Union and that his financial responsibilities included preparing and signing checks from the Union’s bank accounts, making disbursements, maintaining financial records and reporting on the Union’s finances to the Union’s board and membership.
Bridge admitted that while serving as the Union’s business manager, he embezzled Union funds for his own use. Bridge accomplished the embezzlement in a variety of ways, including paying himself excess salary, writing unauthorized checks to himself, making unauthorized purchases on the Union’s debit card, and making unauthorized cash withdrawals from the Union’s bank account. Bridge acknowledged that when he took office, the Union had approximately $106,000.00 in its general account, and when he resigned, the general account had $2,400.00.
This case was investigated by the Office of Labor-Management Standards of the U.S. Department of Labor and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys C. Paige Messec and Samuel A. Hurtado.