Cedric Hughes, Former SEIU Local 721 Treasurer, Swipes $15K from Union

cedric-earl-hughes-seiu-local-721-uupFormer Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 721 Treasurer Cedric Hughes was indicted for five counts of wire fraud and a count of embezzlement.

Less than two months after SEIU Local 6434 President Tyrone Ricky Freeman was sentenced to three years in jail, yet another SEIU official is being indicted for fraud and embezzlement. Cedric Hughes is the latest in a line of corrupt SEIU officials who found the money too good not to steal:

Hughes, who served in his position from March 2009 through June 2010, wrote unauthorized checks to himself and made unauthorized cash withdrawals and debit card transactions with the union’s debit card totaling $15,194. The indictment follows an investigation by the OLMS Los Angeles District Office.

While Cedric Hughes’ embezzlement didn’t quite reach the levels of money that Tyrone Freeman’s, his betrayal of trust is no less concerning to SEIU membership. As Staff Union Treasurer, Hughes had access to the Chase Bank account for the United Union Professionals, the Staff Union for SEIU Local 721. According to the indictment filed in the Central District of California US District Court (full document at end of this article), it was this account Hughes treated as a personal credit card:

In order to conceal the withdrawals from officers at UUP and to continue making withdrawals undetected, defendant HUGHES knowingly and falsely told UUP officers that the checkbook and other financial records for the UUP Chase Account had gone missing when defendant HUGHES’s truck was stolen.

The lengths Hughes went to in order to conceal his fraud can only be described as brazen. Not only did Hughes knowingly misappropriate union funds for personal use, but he went so far as to lie to the officers of the staff union. While the indictment doesn’t mention whether his truck was actually stolen, Cedric Hughes actions cast doubt on his entire character.

The fact that Hughes is, at a minimum, the third SEIU official to be charged with embezzling union funds in 2013 points to serious issues within SEIU’s management and oversight. Unless changes are made, we expect to see even more of these stories in 2014. As we said with Tyrone Freeman, Cedric Hughes would’ve never gotten away with what he did without a complacence atmosphere of SEIU corruption telling him that it was okay.