Former union official sentenced
Thursday, September 27, 2007
BENTON - A former local Boilermakers union official was sentenced tothree years of probation and fines in federal court for embezzlingmoney from his union local.Jeff Klope, Harrisburg, must also pay $100 in fines and a $100special assessment as part of the plea agreement, which wasfinalized with a formal guilty plea Sept. 20 in Benton Federal Court.Between October 2002 and April 2005, Klope took $25,794 from theunion while he was secretary-treasurer of Local S-8, whichrepresents miners at Willow Lake Mine. Court documents indicate theembezzlement was committed through writing of unauthorized checks,forgery and falsification of records to conceal the crimes.Klope confessed to his actions after an investigation by theDepartment of Labor, Office of Labor Management Standards.Klope took funds in several ways. The union voted years ago to awardattendance prizes at each meeting. Whoever's number was drawn wouldwin a $295 prize. Klope was supposed to write checks for theattendance prizes and give them to the local president, whopresented them to the winners. Klope wrote himself 13 unauthorizedchecks between Oct. 19, 2002 and July 22, 2004 totaling $3,789 byentering the names of other members as attendance prize winners onthe check stubs to conceal the payment to himself, according tocourt documents.Klope stole $5,324 by writing checks to himself that were intendedfor reimbursing members who lost wages or overtime while conductingunion business. Klope issued 42 unauthorized checks to himselfbetween Dec. 10, 2002 and Feb. 24, 2005 by writing union members orofficers in the payee line on the check stub, while making the checkout to himself, according to court documents.Klope wrote himself seven unauthorized checks with false checkbookentries that say he used $2,821 to purchase bibles.Klope also wrote $1,564 in false checks with "IRS" in the payeeline; $2,155 in checks falsified to show reimbursed "DC meals," anapparent travel expense; and $8,647 in checks to himself thatinvolved falsified check stub records to make the payment looklegitimate.Klope repaid $5,800 to the union in April 2005 before resigning,according to court documents. He also met with union President Forton May 22, 2006 and apologized for taking the union's money. Hepromised to make restitution, according to court documents. Klopegave Fort a check for $1,026 to cover costs associated with gettingrecords from the bank, court documents indicate.