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Press Release

Altoona Man Sentenced to Prison for Defrauding United Way of Central Iowa, Embezzling from a Labor Union

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Iowa

Des Moines, IA—On September 17, 2019, Theodore Eric Watson, age 54, of Altoona, appeared before United States District Court Chief Judge John A. Jarvey and was sentenced to 18 months in prison for mail fraud and embezzlement of labor union assets, with three years of supervised release to follow his prison term. Watson pleaded guilty to these offenses on April 15, 2019.

Watson admitted from 2007 until September 2016, while employed as the Business Manager for Local 74 of the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers (AFL-CIO), he sent fraudulent requests for payment of grant funds for training to the United Way of Central Iowa. These fraudulent requests were unauthorized and unknown to Local 74.

Watson also admitted to embezzling from Local 74 by making unauthorized purchases and cash advances on a Local 74 credit card and then concealing the fraud by submitting altered credit card statements and false monthly reports to Local 74. Watson additionally opened a bank account in the name of Local 74, without Local 74's consent or knowledge, and from December 2013 through January 2016, Watson diverted Local 74 funds into this account for his personal use.

Watson was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $125,443.24 ($55,604.91 to Local 74 and $69,838.33 to United Way of Central Iowa).

This matter was investigated by the United States Department of Labor—Management Standards. The case was prosecuted by the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Iowa.


Rachel J. Scherle

Updated September 20, 2019

Financial Fraud