How to Swipe $200K From Your Union

Did it really take them four years to catch this?

Last month, the U.S. Attorney’s office announced that Robbin Wolff, a former bookkeeper for UAW Local 383 in Benton Harbor, had been sentenced to two years in prison for embezzling more than $200,000 in union funds. Wolff pled guilty to embezzlement and falsifying union records last July.

In announcing the sentence, the U.S. Attorney's office gave a description of Ms. Wolff’s modus operandi: she issued herself 194 extra salary checks and charged personal expenses to union credit cards over four years. In other words, Ms. Wolff cut herself an unauthorized paycheck an average of 48 times a year. Yikes!

The embezzlement was eventually caught thanks to a compliance audit ordered by the Department of Labor. Still, four years is a long time for a bookkeeper to be issuing herself an extra paycheck almost every week. One has to wonder if she might have gotten away with it if she had been more discreet. Even with the current LM-2 rules, it would seem union financial reporting standards could afford some tightening up.

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