Union Officer Sentenced to Prison for Embezzlement
Stole Nearly $250,000 from Railroad Union Members
A former Secretary-Treasurer of a railroad employee union was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 18 months in prison and $217,260 in restitution for embezzling from his union, announced U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes. GREGORY NORMAND, 58, of Marysville, Washington, pleaded guilty in July 2018 to embezzlement from a labor organization and two counts of making false statements to the United States. NORMAND was Secretary-Treasurer with the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART) Union 324 for about six years. Over that time he stole more than $248,000. At sentencing U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik said the crime was “both a financial and spiritual loss,” to the union members who felt they had been betrayed.
“Union members trusted this defendant to be a careful steward of their union dues, instead he lined his pockets with their hard-earned wages,” said U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes. “I commend the Department of Labor - Office of Labor Management Standards for its dogged efforts to ensure that union officials comply with the law and are good stewards of union funds.”
According to records filed in the case, NORMAND used a number of different strategies to embezzle from the union bank accounts. In multiple instances he made payments to himself indicating he had missed work during a given month due to union business. In fact he had not missed any regular work time during that month and was not entitled to the “make-whole” pay. A second embezzlement strategy involved writing checks to himself, at the same time he made electronic transfers for the same amount of money into his personal account – essentially paying himself twice. NORMAND repeatedly altered checks he wrote to himself, making them for thousands of dollars more than authorized. For example changing a check for $212 into a check for $6,212. Finally, NORMAND wrote duplicate reimbursement checks to himself for monies garnished by the IRS.
NORMAND repeatedly lied on Department of Labor reporting forms regarding the amount of money he had been paid by the union. When confronted by a union auditor in May 2017, NORMAND minimized his theft by tens of thousands of dollars and attempted to justify his actions.
Speaking in court today members of the union described how the union was suddenly broke due to the embezzlement – that it could not pay the bills. “We went without so Normand could have his $250,000 a year,” one member said. A second spoke about the damage from “lies, deceit and betrayal.”
NORMAND was charged criminally in October 2017. He has repaid approximately $30,000 of the money he stole.
The case was investigated by the Department of Labor- Office of Labor Management Standards (DOL-OLMS).
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Stephen Hobbs.