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American Federation of Teachers

embezzlement charges

Office of Labor-Management Enforcement

The Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) conducts both civil and criminal investigations of alleged violations of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA) and related laws.

These investigations by OLMS District Offices involve issues such as embezzlements of union funds, union officer elections, the filing of required reports by unions and others with OLMS, and the imposition of trusteeships over subordinate unions by a parent body. These investigations may result in legal enforcement actions.

DateDescription
February 24th, 2011On February 24, 2011, in the United States District Court, District of Maine, Bernadette Beal, former President of Teachers Local 5073, the Downeast Federation of Healthcare Professionals (located in Millbridge, Maine), was sentenced to eight months imprisonment and two years supervised release. She was also ordered to pay a $100 special assessment and restitution in the amount of $24,131.32. On August 27, 2010, Beal pled guilty to one count of embezzlement of union funds totaling $25,536.91, in violation of 29 U.S.C. 501(c). The sentencing follows an investigation by the OLMS Boston District Office.
August 27th, 2010On August 27, 2010, in the United States District Court for the District of Maine, Bernadette Beal, former President of American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Downeast Federation of Healthcare Professionals Local 5073 (located in Milbridge, Maine), pled guilty to an information charging her with embezzlement of union funds in the amount of $25,536.91. The plea follows an investigation by the OLMS Boston District Office.
March 11th, 2010On March 11, 2010, in the United States District Court for the District of Montana, Laura A. Brown, former President and Treasurer of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Local 5095 (located in Butte, Mont.), was sentenced to five years probation on one count of embezzling union funds. Brown was ordered to make restitution, pay a special assessment of $100 and repay the cost of mental health and substance abuse treatment directed by the probation office. On November 12, 2009, Brown pled guilty to one count of embezzling union funds totaling $7,731.54. The sentencing follows an investigation by the OLMS Denver District Office.
November 12th, 2009On November 12, 2009, in the United States District Court for the District of Montana, Laura A. Brown, former President of Federation of Teachers Local 5095 (located in Butte, Mont.), pled guilty to one count of embezzling union funds in the amount of $7,731.54. The plea follows an investigation by the OLMS Denver District Office.
May 5th, 2009On May 5, 2009, in the United States District Court for the District of Eastern Pennsylvania, Peter Rhein, former Treasurer of American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Local 3845 (located in Philadelphia, Pa.), was sentenced to five years probation and ordered to pay additional restitution in the amount $28,145.76 and a special assessment of $1,400.00. Rhein had previously made a restitution payment in the amount $14,500.00. On February 3, 2009, Rhein pled guilty to a fourteen count indictment that included six counts of embezzlement of union funds totaling $43,600 and eight counts of false statements. The sentencing follows an investigation by the OLMS Philadelphia District Office.
February 3rd, 2009On February 3, 2009, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Peter Rhein, former Treasurer of American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Local 3845 (located in Philadelphia, Pa.), pled guilty to a fourteen count indictment that included six counts of embezzlement of union funds totaling $43,600 and eight counts of making a false statement. The plea follows an investigation by the OLMS Philadelphia District Office.
January 30th, 2009On January 30, 2009, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Grace Gaines, former Treasurer of American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Local 4973 (located in Philadelphia, Pa.), was sentenced to five years probation including six months home confinement with electronic monitoring, ordered to pay restitution in the amount $11,328.00 and a special assessment of $400.00.On October 24, 2008, Gaines pled guilty to a four count indictment for embezzlement of union funds in the same amount. The sentencing follows a joint investigation by the OLMS Philadelphia District Office and the US Department of Labor Office of Inspector General.
October 24th, 2008On October 24, 2008 in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Grace Gaines, former Treasurer of American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Local 4973 (located in Philadelphia, Pa.), pled guilty to four counts of embezzling union funds in the amount of $15,597.00. The plea follows a joint investigation by the OLMS Philadelphia District Office and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General.
July 9th, 2008On July 9, 2008, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Grace Gaines, former Treasurer of American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Local 4973 (located in Philadelphia, Pa.), was charged with forty-three individual counts of embezzling union funds totaling $15,597.99. Gaines is alleged to have issued unauthorized checks from the union's account payable to herself and cashed checks made payable to the local. The charges follow an investigation by the OLMS Philadelphia District Office and the Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General.
November 27th, 2006On November 27, 2006, in the United States District Court for the District of Maine, Catherine Crosier, former assistant to the controller for the Maine Teachers Association, pled guilty to one count of embezzling over $30,000 in union funds. The guilty plea follows an investigation by the OLMS Boston District Office.
October 12th, 2006On October 12, 2006, in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, Michael Martin, son-in-law of former Washington Teachers' Union (WTU) Executive Assistant to the President Gwendolyn Hemphill, was sentenced to six months in prison followed by three years probation, one of which must be served in home detention, for his role in an embezzlement scheme which defrauded the union of approximately $4.6 million. Martin was also ordered to perform 200 hours of community service and to pay restitution in the amount of $650,000. On April 11, 2003, Martin pled guilty to money laundering for conspiring to launder more than $500,000 in WTU funds by creating a sham third-party business, Expressions Unlimited, at the request of the WTU President and the WTU Executive Assistant. WTU funds were paid to Expressions Unlimited, which never in fact provided any services to the union, and were then funneled to the WTU President and Executive Assistant. The sentencing follows a joint investigation by the OLMS Washington District Office, the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office
June 5th, 2006On June 5, 2006, in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, James Baxter, former Treasurer of the American Federation of Teachers Local 6, also known as the Washington Teachers' Union (WTU), was sentenced to 120 months in prison followed by three years of supervised probation and 900 hours of community service. Baxter was also sentenced to additional prison terms that will be served concurrently with the 120 months and was ordered to make restitution to the union in the amount of $4,249,187. On August 31, 2005, following a jury trial, Baxter was found guilty on 23 different counts including embezzlement, conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, conspiracy to launder money, making false statements on annual labor organization reports, and maintaining false union records. Baxter is the latest individual to be convicted and sentenced for involvement with the embezzlement of approximately $4.6 million from the WTU. Along with Baxter, former WTU President Barbara Bullock and former WTU Assistant to the President Gwendolyn Hemphill have been convicted and sentenced to a combined total of over 362 months in prison for their roles in the scheme. The sentencing follows a joint investigation by the OLMS Washington District Office, the FBI, and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia.
May 22nd, 2006On May 22, 2006, in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, Gwendolyn Hemphill, former Executive Assistant to the President of the American Federation of Teachers Local 6, also known as the Washington Teachers' Union (WTU), was sentenced to 132 months in prison followed by three years of supervised probation. Hemphill was also sentenced to additional prison terms that will be served concurrently with the 132 months and was ordered to make restitution to the union in the amount of $4,249,187. On August 31, 2005, following a jury trial, Hemphill was found guilty on 23 different counts including embezzlement, conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, conspiracy to launder money, false statements on LM reports and false union records. The sentencing follows a joint investigation by the OLMS Washington District Office, the FBI, and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia.
August 31st, 2005On August 31, 2005, in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, former Washington Teachers' Union (WTU) Treasurer James Baxter and former WTU Assistant to the President Gwendolyn Hemphill were found guilty of all 23 counts after a jury trial lasting approximately three months. The convictions included conspiracy, embezzlement, mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, conspiracy to launder money, false statements on LM reports and false union records. These are the seventh and eighth convictions of individuals involved in the embezzlement of approximately $4.6 million from the WTU. Sentencing for Baxter and Hemphill is set for December 9, 2005. The case was the result of a joint investigation by the OLMS Washington District Office, the FBI, and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia.
November 20th, 2003On November 20, 2003, in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, an indictment was filed against the following individuals in connection with the theft of $4 million in union funds: James Baxter, former treasurer of the Washington Teachers' Union (WTU); Gwendolyn Hemphill, former assistant to the president of WTU; James Goosby, an accountant; and Robin Klein, an accountant. The indictment includes the following 27 counts: six counts of embezzlement, one count of conspiracy, five counts of wire fraud, three counts of mail fraud, two counts of false statements (for a false LM-2 report and a false IRS form 990), one count of money laundering conspiracy, five counts of money laundering, one count of making a false record, one count of fraud and false statements in violation of internal revenue laws, one count of first degree theft, and one count of aiding and abetting. The indictment is part of an ongoing investigation of the Washington Teachers' Union by the OLMS Washington District Office, the FBI, the IRS, and the United States Attorney's Office.
October 7th, 2003On October 7, 2003, in United States District Court for the District of Columbia, Barbara Bullock, former president of the Washington Teachers Union, pled guilty to one count of mail fraud and aiding and abetting, and one count of conspiracy to embezzle union funds. On October 3, 2003, an information was filed alleging that Bullock and others embezzled over $2.5 million. A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for January 2004; Bullock faces up to 10 years imprisonment as well as significant fines. The charges and guilty plea are part of an ongoing investigation by the OLMS Washington District Office, the FBI, the IRS, and the United States Attorney's Office.
October 3rd, 2003On October 3, 2003, in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, an information was filed against former Washington Teachers' Union President Barbara Bullock charging her with one count of mail fraud and aiding and abetting and one count of conspiracy to embezzle union funds. The information states that Bullock and others embezzled over $2.5 million by committing the following acts: making personal charges on the union's credit cards; writing and causing the writing of improper union checks to herself and others with false purposes written on the checks; writing and causing the writing of union checks to intermediaries who laundered the funds and shared the proceeds; and fraudulently instructing the District of Columbia Government to withhold $144 more than the lawful dues deduction from the paychecks of approximately 5,000 union members and then using most of this money for personal reasons. The information also charges Bullock and others, including outside accountants, with filing false Form LM-2 reports and false Form 990s. The charges are part of an ongoing investigation by the OLMS Washington District Office, the FBI, the IRS, and the United States Attorney's Office.
September 30th, 2003On September 30, 2003, in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, an information was filed charging Errol Alderman, a District of Columbia government employee, with one count of conspiracy to launder money as part of a scheme to embezzle funds from the Washington Teachers' Union. The information states that Alderman conspired to launder approximately $483,000 through a shell company called Expressions Unlimited. The charge is part of an ongoing investigation of the Washington Teachers' Union by the OLMS Washington District Office, the FBI, the IRS and the United States Attorney's Office.
April 2nd, 2003On April 2, 2003, in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, a criminal information was filed charging Michael Martin with money laundering in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1956(h), for conspiring to launder more than $1 million in Washington Teachers' Union funds in furtherance of an embezzlement from the union. Martin is the son-in-law of the former executive assistant of the union. The charges state that he was involved in setting up a fictitious company to launder most of the money back to an officer and an employee of the union. The charges were brought following a joint investigation by the OLMS Washington District Office, the FBI, and other law enforcement agencies.