Texas Union Official Sentenced for Embezzling Union Benefit Plan

June 10, 2011(PLANSPONSOR.com) - The U.S. Department of Labor (DoL) announced that Michael Doggett, business representative for the Carpenters Local Union 502 in Port Arthur, has been sentenced to five months in prison.

Following a U.S. Labor Department Investigation, Doggett was found to have stolen from the Carpenters and Millwrights Local 502 Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee Fund. In addition to jail time, the court also ordered him to make $39,324 in restitution payments.

Doggett, who served as the union’s training program director and secretary-treasurer from September 2000 until December 2009, pleaded guilty in January to one count of theft from the fund. During his tenure, Doggett was responsible for overseeing and administering the program’s finances, including payment for expenses, collecting dues, and paying property taxes.

From Oct. 1, 2005, through Dec. 31, 2009, Doggett embezzled from the apprenticeship and training benefit plan, using the money for a variety of personal expenses, including bowling and a dating service.

An indictment was handed down in September 2010 charging Doggett with stealing from the benefit plan, as well as more than $45,000 from the Local 502 general fund. As part of the plea agreement, the charge of stealing from the union general fund was dismissed. Doggett is scheduled to begin his sentence June 27. After completion of his jail term, he has been ordered to spend an additional five months in home detention and is barred from serving as a union officer or employee for thirteen years.

The department’s investigation was conducted by EBSA’s Dallas Regional Office, OLMS’ Dallas District Office and the FBI.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert L. Rawls.

 “I hope that this case sends a clear message to all who hold an office of trust, or operate or administer apprenticeship and training programs, that the Department of Labor is committed to vigorously pursuing those who abuse their positions and use program funds for personal gain,” said Roger Hilburn, director of the Dallas Regional Office of the Labor Department’s Employee Benefits Security Administration. “We remain committed to eliminating corruption and protecting training plan assets for the exclusive benefit of apprentices.”


 -Sara Kelly