Meridian-based union's former secretary-treasurer admits embezzlement and theft

Helen Herold-Roden, 49, of Boise pleaded guilty Thursday to embezzlement and theft of labor union assets, Idaho's U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced.

She entered the guilty plea pre-indictment, admitting that she embezzled $138,658 from the Communications Workers of America Local Union 7603 between 2008 and 2014. She served as secretary-treasurer of the local union from 2002 until July 2014.

Members of the union are employed in the telecommunications industry and include employees of Century Link, AT&T, and the Idaho Statesman, the U.S. Attorney reports. Membership dues are based on a percentage of each member’s individual hourly wage and are electronically deposited into the local's checking account twice each month.

According to the plea agreement, Herold-Roden wrote duplicate checks to herself and vendors to pay personal bills on about 28 occasion, and made cash withdrawls, debit card payments and wire transfers to pay personal bills on about 740 occasions.

The charge of embezzlement and theft of labor union assets is punishable by up to five years in prison, a maximum fine of $10,000, and up to three years of supervised release.

Sentencing is set for September 8, 2015, before U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge at the federal courthouse in Boise.

“This defendant occupied a position of trust for workers in the telecommunications industry,” said Olson. “When individuals betray that trust for their own personal gain, this office will work closely with its law enforcement partners to investigate and prosecute.”

The case was investigated by the United States Department of Labor, Office of Labor-Management Standards.