CHARLESTON, WV (LOOTPRESS) – Gary F. Fridley II, 41, of Cross Lanes, pleaded guilty today to embezzlement of labor union assets.
According to court documents and statements made in court, from about December 20, 2018, until about June 12, 2019, Fridley was a union officer in Nitro while employed by American Electric Power (AEP). As the union’s elected financial secretary, Fridley was the union’s chief financial officer and was responsible for preparing and co-signing union checks and maintaining financial records. Fridley was one of three signatories on the union’s checking account at Huntington National Bank in Nitro. As financial secretary, Fridley was entitled to an officer’s salary as well as reimbursement for lost time or wages lost from his employment when he took off from work for union business.
On about June 12, 2019, Fridley received a check for $1,321.55 as reimbursement for lost time. Fridley admitted that he had not lost any time with AEP during that pay period. Fridley submitted a false voucher to receive an unauthorized lost time payment and forged the signature of another union official in order to cash the check for the fictitious lost time.
Fridley further admitted that he improperly received $19,732.88 through his wrongful actions as the union’s financial secretary. Fridley submitted additional false vouchers to receive unauthorized lost time payments from the union and forged the signatures of other union officials to cash the union checks he wrote payable to himself for the fictitious lost time payments.
Fridley is scheduled to be sentenced on August 29, 2023, and faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine. Fridley also owes $19,732.88 in restitution.
United States Attorney Will Thompson made the announcement and commended the investigative work of the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS).
Senior United States District Judge David A. Faber presided over the hearing. Assistant United States Attorneys Holly Wilson, Kathleen Robeson, and Andrew J. Tessman are prosecuting the case.