Union Official Stole over $1 Million from ILA Local 970

Union Official Stole over $1 Million from ILA Local 970

Robert Smith, III, 48, of Virginia Beach, pleaded guilty today to charges of mail fraud for a decade-long scheme to defraud the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA), Local 970 of over $1 million.

According to the statement of facts filed with the plea agreement, Smith served as the Business Agent and the Financial Secretary for ILA, Local 970.  Local 970 is a union whose members provide qualified labor to the Port of Virginia.  From March 2006 through April 2016, Smith devised a scheme to embezzle funds from the Local 970 bank accounts.  Specifically, Smith deposited new member initiation fees and member dues received from local employers into an ILA Bank account, and then used those funds for his own personal purposes.  Over a period of ten years, Smith stole approximately $1,072,668.30 of union funds.  Smith withdrew over $700,000 in cash, paid his personal credit card bills, and used the funds to purchase gas, food, clothing, shoes, toys, entertainment, and home improvement supplies. 

Smith faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison sentenced on Feb. 7, 2017. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

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