By Josh Fatzick
Former union president Stephanie Hicks was sentenced for embezzling $92,000 during her time representing employees at the Department of Veterans Affairs, according to federal officials Wednesday.
Hicks represented workers at the VA hospital in Birmingham, Ala. She was sentenced to six months in prison, plus six months home detention. She embezzled from Local 2207 of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE). She was sentenced Tuesday, federal authorities detailed in a press release. She had pleaded guilty in June.
“The local collects dues biweekly from its more than 440 members,” the Department of Justice said in a statement. “During Hicks’ tenure, the local maintained the money in two bank accounts — a general operating account and a legal fund account, first at Wachovia Bank and, following a merger, at Wells Fargo Bank, according to the indictment and Hick’s plea agreement with the government.”
Hicks will also have to pay the union back for the full amount taken. Her offenses include bank fraud and forgery. The abuse of power occurred from 2007 to 2013 when she was serving as president. Hicks will be required to report to prison Jan. 12. Veterans Affairs, the Office of Inspector General, and the Department of Labor investigated the case.
“To conceal her fraud, Hicks did not maintain records of the financial transactions, as required by federal law and Local 2207’s constitution and bylaws,” the press statement noted. “Nor did she seek approval for the expenditures.”
The VA has already been the subject of scrutiny over a 2014 scandal that left dozens dead. An investigation into the scandal found veterans died waiting for care. The delays in care and questionable treatment practices resulted in federal investigations and a public outcry.
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