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The former president of the union representing workers at the Smithfield Foods plant in Tar Heel was sentenced Tuesday in federal court after pleading guilty to embezzlement of more than $200,000 in union assets.

Keith Alan Ludlum, 48, of Bladenboro, was sentenced to a combined maximum sentence of 10 years in prison followed by three years of supervised release, a $10,000 fine and restitution by Chief U.S. District Judge Terrence W. Boyle after the guilty plea to conspiracy and embezzlement of labor union assets, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina.

Terry Slaughter, who was the union secretary/treasurer, plead guilty to embezzlement of labor union assets in February 2019 and was sentenced to five years in prison, three years of supervised release, a $10,000 fine and restitution.

Ludlum was elected president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local Union 1208 in 2011, according to an indictment filed in April 2019 and information presented at the hearing. Local Union 1208 has about 3,600 active members at facilities in North and South Carolina.

In 2014, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the UFCW initiated an audit of the union after receiving complaints from members regarding the theft and misuse of funds by Ludlum and Slaughter. The audit and investigation found that between January 2012 and March 2015 the two men embezzled and misused more than $200,000 in union funds by issuing unauthorized checks and making unauthorized purchases with their assigned debit cards, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

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