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Ex-Union Leader Sentenced In Embezzlement Case

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File photo of judge with gavel. (Credit: Thinkstock)

File photo of judge with gavel. (Credit: Thinkstock)

HOUSTON (AP) — A former leader of an engineering labor organization in Houston has been sentenced to a year in federal prison for spending union money on luxury trips and a home remodeling job.

The U.S. Attorney’s office says Ronald Witt, former business manager of International Union of Operating Engineers Local 450, was sentenced Monday for conspiracy to embezzle union funds. Witt was ordered to pay about $200,000 in restitution.

The 66-year-old Witt pleaded guilty in January and admitted he used Local 450’s funds, mainly from dues, for personal expenses and covered up the scheme by forging records.

The investigation was prompted by the International Union of Operating Engineers, which took over the Houston local when Witt resigned in 2009.

Local 450 represents about 1,000 members of the crane rigging and hoisting industry.

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