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Des Moines man pleads guilty to defrauding and embezzling

DES MOINES, Iowa (KWWL) – A man from Des Moines has plead guilty to defrauding the United Way of Central Iowa and embezzling money from a labor union.

54-year-old Theodore Eric Watson was in court today and pleaded guilty to mail fraud and embezzlement of labor union assets. Watson admitted he did this from 2007 till September 2016 while working as the business manager for Local 74 of the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers (AFL-CIO).

He ordered fake requests for payment of grant money for training adults to the United Way of Central Iowa. These requests were not authorized and unfamiliar to Local 74.

Watson also admitted to embezzling from Local 74 by making illegal purchases and cash advances on a Local 74 credit card. Watson hid the fraud by entering altered credit card statements and submitting untruthful monthly reports to Local 74.

Additionally, Watson opened a bank account in the name of Local 74 without the Local 74’s approval or knowing. From December 2013 through January 2016, Watson dropped Local 74 money into this account and used the money for his own reasons.

Watson faces up to 20 years in prison for mail fraud and up to 5 years in prison for embezzling the union.

Sentencing is currently scheduled for August 23, 2019 at 10:30 a.m. at the Des Moines Federal Courthouse.

This incident was investigated by the United States Department of Labor-Management Standards. The case was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa.

KWWL Staff

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