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Former Labor Union President, Bladenboro Resident Sentenced for Embezzlement

RALEIGH — A Bladenboro man was sentenced Wednesday to 14 months in prison and ordered to pay $213,201.05 in restitution for conspiracy to commit embezzlement of labor union assets, and embezzlement of labor union assets, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina.

According to court documents, Keith Alan Ludlum, 48, served as president of Local 1208, a Bladenboro chapter of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union. Local 1208 encompasses North and South Carolina and has about 3,600 members.

In 2014, the UFCW initiated an audit of Local 1208 after receiving complaints from union members regarding the theft and misuse of union funds by Ludlum and then-Secretary/Treasurer Terry Slaughter, according to a news release. The audit and a subsequent criminal investigation revealed that between from January 2012 through March 2015, Ludlum embezzled approximately $136,202.29 from the union by receiving more than 20 unauthorized checks and making 420 unauthorized purchases with his union debit card. Some of the purchases included vacations, hunting supplies, firearms, ATVs, childcare, medical appointments, ATM withdrawals, personal car insurance, restaurants, and rental cars.

In addition, Ludlum made at least 150 unauthorized check payments totaling $76,998.76 to family, friends and other union members. During the same period, Slaughter embezzled $62,315.38, which included checks for unauthorized salary and travel reimbursement and 161 charges to a Local 1208 debit card.

In February 2019, Slaughter pled guilty to embezzlement of labor union assets. On Feb. 26, 2020, he was sentenced to six months custody, three years supervised release, and ordered to pay $62,315.38 restitution.

H. Craig Neel, District Director, of the Office of Labor-Management Standards said, “Safeguarding financial integrity and combating financial malfeasance in labor unions is a very high priority for OLMS. Ludlum betrayed the trust of the union membership who rightfully expected him, as a union official, to protect and safeguard their union’s funds and assets. The financial malfeasance was discovered by the local union and reported to OLMS. OLMS and the U.S. Attorney’s Office were able to fully investigate and bring about justice. This sentencing sends a clear message that OLMS and the U.S. Attorney’s Office will fully investigate and seek justice when anyone attempts to use their union position for personal financial gain at the expense of union members.”

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