Former Union President Gets Prison After Years of Embezzlement

He paid for ATVs, childcare, firearms, medical expenses, vacations and even took out straight cash withdrawals.

On July 8, a former labor union president was sentenced to 14 months in prison for embezzlement.

Keith Alan Ludlum, 48, was the president of the Bladenboro, N.C., chapter of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.

Local 1208 has about 3,600 active members in North and South Carolina, including workers at the large Smithfield Foods plant in Tar Heel, N.C.

The sentence is the result of an investigation triggered by complaints from union members over misused funds.

From January 2012 through March 2015, Ludlum embezzled more than $136,000, according to the Department of Justice.

He received more than 20 unauthorized checks and made some 420 purchases on his union debit card, including ATVs, childcare, firearms, medical expenses and vacations — and even took out cash withdrawals. He also made at least 150 unauthorized payments totaling nearly $77,000 to family, friends and other union members.

Ludlum pleaded guilty to conspiracy and embezzlement charges, and was also ordered to pay $213,201.05 in restitution.

Local 1208's former secretary/treasurer Terry Slaughter was also caught up in the scandal. During the same time period, Slaughter embezzled approximately $62,315.38, mostly in unauthorized salary and travel reimbursement.

On Feb. 19, 2019, Slaughter pleaded guilty to embezzlement, and on Feb. 26, 2020, he was sentenced to six months in custody, three years supervised release, and ordered to pay $62,315.38 restitution.

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