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Union Facts

Communications Workers of America

criminal 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
September 16th, 2016On September 16, 2016, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Western Division, Aaron Contreras, former Financial Secretary of Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 84749 (located in Fostoria, Ohio), was charged in an information with one count of embezzlement in the amount of $42,700, in violation of 29 U.S.C. 501(c). The charge follows an investigation by the OLMS Cincinnati-Cleveland District Office and Fostoria Police Department.
February 16th, 2016On February 16, 2016, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Karen McJimpson, former Executive Vice President of Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 4004 (located in Detroit, Mich.), pled guilty to one count of failure to maintain union records, in violation of 29 U.S.C. 439(a). An information filed on that date charging McJimpson with one count of failure to maintain union records superseded a one-count indictment filed on August 18, 2015, which charged McJimpson with embezzling approximately $19,000 in union funds, in violation of 29 U.S.C. 501(c). The guilty plea follows an investigation by the OLMS Detroit-Milwaukee District Office.
August 18th, 2015On August 18, 2015, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Karen McJimpson, former Executive Vice President of Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 4004 (located in Detroit, Mich.), was charged in a one-count indictment with embezzling approximately $19,000 in union funds, in violation of 29 U.S.C. 501(c). The indictment follows an investigation by the OLMS Detroit-Milwaukee District Office.
July 23rd, 2015On July 23, 2015, in the Clark County, Indiana, Circuit Court, an information was filed against Diana Brown, former Secretary-Treasurer of Communications Workers of America Local 84807 (located in Jeffersonville, Ind.), for ten counts of felony forgery, in violation of I.C. 35-43-5-2(b)(1), and one count of felony theft, in violation of I.C. 35-43-4-2(a). The charges follow an investigation by the OLMS Cincinnati-Cleveland District Office.
June 18th, 2015On June 18, 2015, in the United States District Court for the District of Idaho, Helen Herold-Roden, former Secretary-Treasurer for Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 7603 (located in Meridian, Idaho), was charged with and pled guilty to a single count of embezzlement, in violation of 29 U.S.C. 501(c), for embezzling over $138,000 from the labor union. The sentencing is scheduled for September 8, 2015. The charge and plea follow an investigation by the OLMS San Francisco-Seattle District Office.
April 14th, 2014On April 14, 2014, in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Robert Vargeson, former Treasurer of Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 88329 (located in Galeton, Pa.), was charged in a criminal information with falsification of records, in violation of 29 U.S.C. Section 439(c). The charge follows an investigation by the OLMS Boston-Buffalo District Office.
March 7th, 2014On March 7, 2014, in the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois, Melissa Gustafson, former bookkeeper for Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 84110 (located in Silvis, Ill.), was sentenced to three years of home confinement, three years of probation, three months of curfew, and was ordered to pay a $100 special assessment. Gustafson already paid full restitution of $12,059. On August 16, 2013, Gustafson pled guilty to one count of embezzlement, in violation of 29 U.S.C. 501(c). The charge follows an investigation by the OLMS Denver-St. Louis District Office.
November 14th, 2013On November 14, 2013, in the Hennepin County Court of Minnesota, Jason Brown, former Shop Chairman of Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 87140 (located in Minneapolis, Minn.), was charged with one felony count of theft by swindle, in violation of Minnesota Statute 609.52. The complaint alleges that Brown stole $3,905 between September and December 2012. The charge follows an investigation by the OLMS Minneapolis Resident Investigator Office.
August 16th, 2013On August 16, 2013, in the United States District Court for the Illinois Central Division, Melissa Gustafson, former bookkeeper for International Union of Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers - Communications Workers of America (IUE-CWA) Local 84110 (located in Moline, Ill. and Davenport, Iowa), pled guilty to one count of embezzling approximately $12,059 in union funds, in violation of 29 U.S.C. 501(c). On January 16, 2013, Gustafson was indicted for the same charge. The sentencing is scheduled for December 13, 2013. The guilty plea follows an investigation by the OLMS St. Louis District Office.
June 28th, 2013On June 28, 2013, in the United States District Court Central District of Illinois, Natasha J. Bever, former Treasurer of Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 4202 (located in Rantoul, Ill.), pled guilty to one count of embezzlement in the amount of $117,378, in violation of 29 U.S.C. 501(c). On January 10, 2012, Bever was indicted on the same charge. The guilty plea follows an investigation by the OLMS Chicago District Office.
January 16th, 2013On January 16, 2013, in the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois, Melissa A. Gustafson, former bookkeeper for International Union of Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers - Communications Workers of America (IUE-CWA) Local 84110 (located in Davenport, Iowa and Moline, Ill.), was charged with embezzling $12,059.37 in union funds, in violation of 29 U.S.C. 501(c). The indictment follows an investigation by the OLMS St. Louis District Office.
November 14th, 2012On November 14, 2012, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, James Killingsworth and Billie Jo Killingsworth, former President and former Treasurer, respectively, of Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 84555 (located in Webberville, Mich.), were each charged in a one-count information with aiding and abetting each other in embezzling $19,197.02 in union funds by making unauthorized ATM and cash withdrawals from the union’s bank account and using the money for their personal expenses, in violation of 29 U.S.C. 501(c) and 18 U.S.C. 2. The charges follow an investigation by the OLMS Detroit District Office.
August 6th, 2012On August 6, 2012, in the Hennepin County Court of Minnesota, Dennis Earley, former Financial Secretary of Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 87140 (located in Minneapolis, Minn.), was charged with one count of theft by swindle over $5,000, in violation of Minnesota Statute 609.52, SUBD. 2(4), SUBD. 3(2). The charge follows an investigation by the OLMS Minneapolis Resident Investigator Office.
August 16th, 2011On August 16, 2011, in the County of Westmoreland in the state of Pennsylvania, a complaint was filed charging Lesa Major, former Secretary-Treasurer of Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 14821 (located in Monessen, Pa.), with access device fraud and theft by unlawful taking when she used the union’s ATM card to make unauthorized withdrawals from the union’s account totaling $3,068.94. The charge follows an investigation by the OLMS Pittsburgh District Office.
June 23rd, 2011On June 23, 2011, in the Lynn District Court of Essex County, Massachusetts, a criminal complaint was filed against Lynda Nordyke, President of Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 1302 (located in Lynn, Mass.), charging her with one count of larceny over $250 for the amount of $58,404, in violation of Massachusetts General Law Chapter 266, Section 30. The charge follows an investigation by the OLMS Boston District Office.
March 25th, 2011On March 25, 2011, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, James Drury, former Secretary-Treasurer of Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 3121 (located in Hialeah, Fla.), was sentenced to 24 months incarceration followed by three years supervised release. He was also ordered to pay $186,757.53 in restitution and a $100 special assessment. On January 11, 2011, Drury pled guilty to a one-charge information for embezzling union funds between December 2005 and March 2009 in the amount of $306,757.53. The sentencing follows a joint investigation by the OLMS Miami Resident Office and the Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General.
March 16th, 2011On March 16, 2011, in Polk County, Minnesota Circuit Court, a complaint was filed against Michelle Jean Nelson, former President of Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 7272 (located in Erskine, Minn.), charging her with felony theft by false representation between $1,000 and $5,000, in violation of Minnesota State Statute 609.52.2(3) and 609.52.3(3)(a). The charge follows an investigation by the OLMS Milwaukee District Office and OLMS Minneapolis Resident Investigator Office.
February 28th, 2011On February 28, 2011, in the Syracuse City Court, Delores Jennings, former President of the now terminated CWA Local 81321 (located in Syracuse, N.Y.), pled guilty to falsification of business records in the second degree. Jennings was previously charged with Grand Larceny in the fourth degree and falsifying business records in the first degree in the same court on October 18, 2010. The guilty plea follows a joint investigation conducted by the Syracuse City Police and the OLMS Buffalo District Office.
January 11th, 2011On January 11, 2011, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, James Drury, former Secretary-Treasurer of Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 3121 (located in Hialeah, Fla.), pled guilty to a one-charge information for embezzling union funds between December 2005 and March 2009 in the amount of $306,757.53. Sentencing is scheduled for March 25, 2011. The plea follows a joint investigation by the OLMS Miami Resident Office (Atlanta District Office) and the Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General.
December 22nd, 2010On December 22, 2010, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, an information was filed against James Drury, former Secretary-Treasurer of Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 3121 (located in Hialeah, Fla.), charging him with embezzling union funds between December 2005 and March 2009 in the amount of $306,757.53. An arraignment was held on December 27, 2010. The charges follow a joint investigation by the OLMS Miami Resident Office (Atlanta District Office) and the Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General.
October 18th, 2010On October 18, 2010, Delores Jennings, former President and acting Secretary-Treasurer of the now defunct Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 81321 (located in Syracuse, NY), was arraigned in Syracuse City Court after a criminal complaint was filed charging her with Grand Larceny in the fourth degree and Falsifying Business Records in the first degree. The complaint alleges that Jennings took $2,479 from her former union. The court action came as a result of an investigation by the OLMS Buffalo District Office and the Syracuse City Police Department.
May 26th, 2010On May 26, 2010, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Gilbert Woods, former President of Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 84-768 (located in Kettering, Ohio), was charged with making false entries in union records. The charge follows an investigation by the OLMS Cincinnati District Office.
May 11th, 2010On May 11, 2010, in the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, Antonio Jordan, former Secretary-Treasurer of Communications Workers Local 38187 (located in Erie, Pa.), was charged with embezzling union funds in the amount of $8,767.40. The charge follows an investigation by the OLMS Pittsburgh District Office.
April 21st, 2010On April 21, 2010, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, Wayne Mitchell, former President of Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 14170 (located in New York, N.Y.), pled guilty to one count of embezzling union funds in an amount between $200,000 and $400,000. On December 14, 2009, Mitchell was charged with embezzling union funds in the amount of $200,000. The plea follows an investigation by OLMS New York District Office.
January 5th, 2010On January 5, 2010, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, Sherrell Mitchell, former Secretary-Treasurer of Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 86823 (located in St. Louis Mo.), was charged with one count of embezzling union funds in the amount of $110,000. Mitchell then pled guilty to the charge. This charge and plea follows an investigation by the OLMS St. Louis District Office.
December 14th, 2009On December 14, 2009, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, Wayne Mitchell, former President of Communication Workers of America (CWA) Local 14170 (located in New York, N.Y.), was charged with embezzling union funds in the amount of $200,000. The charge follows an investigation by the OLMS New York District Office.
April 3rd, 2009On April 3, 2009, in the 61st District Court of Kent County, Michigan, Kevin Welch, former Financial Secretary of Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 84-415 (located in Grand Rapids, Mich.), pled guilty to one count of embezzlement from a non-profit/charitable organization between $250 and $1,000. On March 4, 2009, Welch was indicted on one count of embezzlement from a non-profit/charitable organization between $1,000 and $20,000. The plea and charge follow an investigation by the OLMS Detroit District Office.
August 14th, 2008On August 14, 2008, in the Superior Court of Vanderburgh County, Indiana, an information was filed charging Michael West, President of CWA Local 84845 (located in Evansville, Ind.), with one count of conversion. The charge follows an investigation by the OLMS Cincinnati District Office.
August 12th, 2008On August 12, 2008, in the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, Michael R. Rhoades, former Secretary-Treasurer of CWA Local 88667 (located in Latrobe, Pa.), was charged in a one count indictment with embezzling union funds in the amount of $8,001.86. The charge follows an investigation by the OLMS Pittsburgh District Office.
October 18th, 2007On October 18, 2007, in the Justice Court of Copiah County, Mississippi, Luke Funchess, Roger Hartley, Charles Funchess, Patricia West-Benson and Jack Virgil, former officers of IUE/CWA Local 83-799, were charged with one count of obtaining signature or thing of value with intent to defraud. The former officers filed false lost time vouchers to obtain funds from the local. Subsequently, the former officers each pled guilty to the offense and were ordered to pay court fees and restitution. The sentencing follows an investigation by the OLMS New Orleans District Office.
March 13th, 2007On March 13, 2007, in United States District Court for the District of Columbia, Kermit Dorsey, former CWA District Seven Regional Administrator, pled guilty to one count of embezzlement from a labor organization. Dorsey embezzled $22,798.29 from the union by submitting approximately 200 fraudulent restaurant receipts with his expense vouchers and receiving reimbursements based on those receipts. On January 26, 2007, Dorsey was charged with one count of embezzlement from a labor organization. The guilty plea follows an investigation by the OLMS Washington District Office.
January 26th, 2007On January 26, 2007, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, criminal information was filed against Kermit Dorsey, former CWA District 7 Regional Administrator, charging him with one count of embezzlement from a labor organization. The charge follows an investigation by the OLMS Washington District Office.
December 14th, 2006On December 14, 2006, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Tammara Schultz, former Secretary-Treasurer of Communications Workers Local 4101, pled guilty to one count of falsification of union records in order to conceal her embezzlement of approximately $22,500 in union funds. On November 20, 2006, an information was filed against Schultz charging her with one count of making false entries in the union's financial records. The guilty plea follows an investigation by the OLMS Detroit District Office.
December 5th, 2006On December 5, 2006, in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, William Dowdell and Tom Honold, former President and Secretary-Treasurer , respectively, for Communications Workers, Local 23 each pled guilty to one count of making false entries in union financial records. Dowdell agreed to make restitution to the union in the amount of $3,200. Honold agreed to make restitution to the union in the amount of $4,458.56 . On November 16, 2005, Dowdell was charged with one count of making false entries to conceal embezzlement of union funds in the same amount. On November 29, 2006, Honold was charged with one count of making false entries to conceal his embezzlement of union funds in the same amount. The guilty pleas follow an investigation by the OLMS Philadelphia District Office.
November 21st, 2006On November 21, 2006, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, Lois A. Carter, former Treasurer of the Industrial Division of the Communication Workers of America (IUE-CWA) Local 84101, was sentenced to one year probation, 30 hours community service, and a $25 special assessment for willful failure to maintain union records. On August 10, 2006, Carter pled guilty to the same charge. The sentencing follows an investigation by the OLMS Milwaukee District Office.
November 16th, 2006On November 16, 2006, in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, an information was filed against William Dowdell, former President of Communications Workers Local 23, charging him with one count of making false entries in union records in order to conceal his embezzlement of approximately $3,200 from his union. The charge follows an investigation by the OLMS Philadelphia District Office.
November 14th, 2006On November 14, 2006, in the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois, an information was filed against Penny Suddith, former Secretary Treasurer for Communications Workers of America Local 14426, charging her with one count of making false entries in union records in order to conceal her embezzlement of approximately $31, 527 in union funds. The charge follows an investigation by the OLMS Chicago District Office.
August 10th, 2006On August 10, 2006 Lois Carter, former treasurer of CWA-IUE Local 84101, signed an agreement to plead guilty to willfully failing to maintain records providing the necessary basic information and data to verify, explain, clarify, and check the accuracy and completeness of the local's Form LM-3 for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2003. On the same date, an information was filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin charging Carter. The charge and guilty plea follow an investigation by the OLMS Milwaukee District Office.
June 28th, 2006On June 28, 2006, in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, Judy Cary, former Secretary for CWA Local 6127 was arrested and charged with one count of embezzling union funds in the amount of approximately $29,000. The indictment follows an investigation by the OLMS Dallas District Office.
June 6th, 2006On June 6, 2006, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, Felix A. Robinson, former President of IUE-CWA Local 84101, was charged with one count of embezzling union funds in the amount of $5,684. The charge follows an investigation by the OLMS Milwaukee District Office.
March 20th, 2006On March 20, 2006, in the United States District Court for the District of Oregon, Beverly Jackson, former Executive Vice President of Communications Workers of America (CWA), Local 7901, pled guilty to a superseding information charging her with one count of concealing and withholding records required to be maintained by a labor organization. Jackson was then sentenced to five months of home confinement and five years probation and was ordered to pay restitution to the union in the amount of $33,457.65. On November 23, 2004, Jackson was indicted on three counts of embezzling union funds totaling $33,457.65. The guilty plea and sentencing follow an investigation by the OLMS Seattle District Office.
December 7th, 2005On December 7, 2005, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, an information was filed against Roy E. Jones, Jr., former President of Communications Workers of America Local 3450, charging him with embezzling union funds totaling approximately $66,000. The information follows an investigation by the OLMS New Orleans District Office.
July 18th, 2005On July 18, 2005, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Bernard Scheller, former secretary-treasurer for Local 14448, Communications Workers, was sentenced to six months in a half-way house, two years of supervised release, and 100 hours of community service. He was also ordered to pay a $100 special assessment. On May 16, 2005, Scheller pled guilty to a one-count information charging him with embezzling $7,250 in union funds. The guilty plea and sentence follow an investigation by the OLMS Cincinnati District Office.
March 29th, 2005On March 29, 2005, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, an information was filed charging Bernard Scheller, former secretary-treasurer of Local 14448, Communications Workers, with one count of embezzling $22,250 in union funds. The charges follow an investigation by the OLMS Cincinnati District Office.
November 9th, 2004On November 9, 2004, in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Glenn Johnson, former president of CWA Local 3140, Communications Workers (CWA), pled guilty to a one-count information charging him with making a false statement of material fact in a report required to be filed under the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act. The guilty plea follows an investigation by the OLMS Atlanta District Office.
November 12th, 2003On November 12, 2003, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, Ana Lorena Phillips, former secretary-treasurer for Communications Workers of America Local 3974, was sentenced to five months imprisonment followed by five months of home confinement and three years of supervised probation. Additionally, Phillips was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $51,678.79. On May 13, 2003, Phillips pled guilty to two counts of a five count indictment charging her with embezzlement and making false entries in union records. The guilty plea and sentence follow an investigation by the OLMS Nashville District Office.
July 17th, 2003On July 17, 2003, Michael Knisley, former Secretary-Treasurer of Communications Workers of America Local 14766, entered into a settlement agreement with the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington. Under the terms of the settlement agreement, prosecution was deferred for 18 months from the date the settlement agreement was signed. Knisley was indicted for embezzling $4,490 in union funds, and causing false statements and reports. Knisley previously made restitution in the amount of $214.80. Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Knisley agreed to pay $237.51 for 18 months totaling $4,275.20. The charges were brought following an investigation by the OLMS Seattle District Office.
November 15th, 2002On November 15, 2002, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California, Mary Anderson, former treasurer of Communications Workers Local 9417, was sentenced to prison for twelve months and a day, plus twelve months of probation, and was ordered to make restitution of $89,422.58. On July 19, 2002, Anderson pled guilty to one count of embezzling union funds. The charge was brought following an investigation by the OLMS San Francisco District Office.
June 26th, 2002On June 26, 2002, in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, Efrain Tulier, former secretary-treasurer of Communications Workers Local 2185, was indicted on one count of embezzling $13,467 in union funds. The charges were brought following an investigation by the OLMS Washington District Office.
May 30th, 2002On May 30, 2002, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Jimmy Reed, former secretary-treasurer of Communications Workers Local 3295, pled guilty to a one-count information charging him with false recordkeeping. He was sentenced to six months home confinement to run concurrently with six months probation. The charges had been brought on April 18, 2002, following an investigation by the OLMS Atlanta District Office.
April 18th, 2002On April 18, 2002, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Jimmy Reed, former secretary-treasurer of Communications Workers Local 3295, was charged in an information with one count of false recordkeeping. The charges were brought following an investigation by the OLMS Atlanta District Office.
April 8th, 2002On April 8, 2002, in the United States District Court for the Central District of California, Leonard Duge, former vice president of Communications Workers Local 53, pled guilty to making false entries in union records. He was sentenced to 24 months of unsupervised probation. He had previously made full restitution to the union of $22,137.66. The charges had been brought on March 5, 2002, following an investigation by the OLMS Los Angeles District Office.
March 5th, 2002On March 5, 2002, in the United States District Court for the Central District of California, Leonard Duge, former vice-president of Communications Workers Local 53, was charged with falsifying union records in an agreement with the Office of the United States Attorney. The agreement noted that he had already made full restitution to the local of $22,137.66. The charges were brought following an investigation by the OLMS Los Angeles District Office.
October 31st, 2001On October 31, 2001, in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado, Bobby Putnam, former secretary-treasurer of Communications Workers Local 14708, was charged in a 40-count indictment with embezzling union funds and making false entries in union records. The charges were brought following an investigation by the OLMS Denver District Office.
August 1st, 2001On August 1, 2001, in the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska, Connie Ogg, former secretary-treasurer of Communications Workers Local 7401, pled guilty to an information charging her with embezzling $67,637 in union funds. The charges were brought following an investigation by the OLMS St. Louis District Office.