$30K Embezzlement Scheme Lands Union Treasurer In Jail

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A former union treasurer in Wisconsin was sentenced to six months in prison Monday after pleading guilty to using her position to steal $29,968.

Helen E. Genal stole the money from union funds while serving as treasurer of the Fox Valley Area Community Action Program Council. She will be required to repay the union for the full $29,968 stolen plus time in prison. She was charged July 28 for embezzlement and making a materially false statement, according to the National Legal and Policy Center.

“I didn’t realize it had gotten this bad,” Genal said before the judge according to the Oshkosh Northwestern. “I want to stay at home with my husband and my children and pay restitution to the union because I’m so very, very sorry for what I’ve done.”

Prosecutors dropped the misdemeanor charge of making false statements as part of a plea deal signed in November. Genal could have spent five years in prison for the embezzlement charge alone but was spared from the maximum penalty. Genal began siphoning off money from the union funds just a week after being hired in December 2011.

The Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) led the investigation. The agency works within the Department of Labor. Fraud and corruption within the labor movement is a problem the agency routinely investigates. OLMS indicted 100 separate cases of union corruption in 2014 alone. Chief Judge William Griesbach issued the ruling.

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