Judge sends ex-bookkeeper to prison for embezzlement


A former union bookkeeper convicted of embezzling more than $300,000 has been sentenced to federal prison.

U.S. District Judge Paul L. Maloney sentenced Stephanie Marie DeBoer, of Cedar Springs, to a four-year term. Investigators said she spent the money to pay on up to 16 personal credit cards used to purchase items including concert tickets and more than $5,000 worth of lingerie.

The judge also ordered her to pay full restitution and serve a period of supervision after completing her prison term.

DeBoer, 41, was employed at International Brotherhood of Electrical, Local 876, in Edmore, as its office manager and bookkeeper. She was accused of embezzling more than $307,000 of the union’s funds for personal use.

She allegedly wrote unauthorized checks to herself and others, made unauthorized payroll deposits, sent money to pay for credit cards, and made other unauthorized purchases from 2012 through September 2015.

She was accused of using $89,000 of the embezzled funds to make payments on 16 different personal credit cards, as well as more than $54,000 in unofficial charges to two of the union-issued credit cards. Investigators said $900 was spent for Katy Perry concert tickets and more than $5,000 was spent at Victoria’s Secret.

Ian Burg, the union’s director for the Detroit-Milwaukee district, said the stolen $307,563 equated to 15 percent of the union’s annual dues receipts and nearly 25 percent of its cash on hand.

“We will continue to work with our federal and state law enforcement partners and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Labor-Management Standards to safeguard the assets of union members,” said James Vanderberg, special-agent-in-charge of the Chicago Region for the U.S. Department of Labor Office of the Inspector General.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General and the Office of Labor Management Standards. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Clay Stiffler.

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