A former union employee pleaded guilty to embezzling $200,000 from the Lanham-based International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers.
Cora Carper, 32, of Churchton, Md., faces a maximum of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000, according to the United States attorney for the District of Maryland.
According to court documents, Carper was a secretary at the union, assigned to perform clerical tasks associated with the operation of the Insulators Political Action Committee fund.
The fund came from voluntary contributions from members of the insulators union, which represented about 21,700 members in the U.S. and Canada.
Carper admitted in federal court Friday that between June 2009 and February 2011, she printed more than 300 checks totaling approximately $502,586, from the PAC fund account made payable to "cash," or "cash reimbursement" or "petty cash."
Union officials stated that Carper printed the checks without authorization and often cashed multiple PAC fund checks the same day.
Carper endorsed the back of all but 13 of the more than 300 checks she cashed. During the time of the embezzlement, Carper deposited at least $180,000 into her personal bank accounts, charging papers said.
To cover up her embezzlement, Carper made false entries in the computerized ledger indicating that the checks were written for donations to political candidates, expense reimbursements or expenses for conferences. Instead, prosecutors said, the checks were made payable to cash, cashed by Carper and then used for her personal benefit.
In early 2011, Carper was confronted about her embezzlement by the Insulators' general president. Carper admitted she had taken $7,300 but denied further embezzlement.
Her family paid the Insulators $7,300.
But a subsequent internal investigation by the Insulators and the Department of Labor revealed that Carper's embezzlement far exceeded what the union had originally thought, with $502,586 in checks attributed to Carper's embezzlement, prosecutors said.
As part of her plea agreement, Carper will be required to pay restitution in the full amount of the victim's losses, which will be determined at sentencing.
Her sentencing is scheduled for June 4 in the federal court in Baltimore.