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Baltimore union leader accused of embezzlement

September 13, 2013

logoThe financial secretary of Local 121 of the United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America (UE Local 121) yesterday was charged in Maryland U.S. District Court with embezzling about $24,000 of the union’s funds over a five-year period ending in March 2012, according to court documents.

The criminal complaint against James Howard Babcock, sworn out by special agent Troy Springer of the Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of the Inspector General, says Babcock “wrote in excess of one hundred (100) checks to himself drawn against the union operating account, converting the proceeds to his own personal use and benefit, and making misrepresentations on the memo lines of the checks.

During a May 2013 interview, Babcock allegedly admitted to investigators that “he intentionally stole the union’s dues during the relevant period because he was having financial difficulties,” Springer’s complaint states, adding that, for four years running, Babcock allegedly filed required annual forms with the Department of Labor that included “materially false statements and misrepresentations of the expenditure and use of the union’s funds.”  

According to the complaint, UE Local 121 represents machinists employed by Clendenin Brothers, Inc. The Baltimore-based company, established in 1865 and located on Erdman Ave., manufactures rivets, nails, nuts, bolts, screws, washers, snow guards, and gutter accessories, among other products, according to its website.

If convicted, Babcock faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.