2018-02-13 / Front Page

Ex-BIW union officer receives 18 months for embezzlement

BY NATHAN STROUT
Times Record Staff

PORTLAND

A former treasurer for Bath Iron Works’ largest union was sentenced to 18 months in prison and full restitution for $280,865 he admitted to embezzling from the union.

Ryan Jones, 35, of Biddeford served as secretary-treasurer for the Local S6 from 2009 through 2016, during which time he withdrew funds from the union’s bank account 199 times. Jones pleaded guilty to a single count of embezzlement in September 2017.

“Ryan will have to spend time in jail thinking about what he did,” said Local S6 President Mike Keenan. “It’s quite a horrific thing to do to your fellow shipbuilders, guys you work next to day after day, building ships to protect our military. And it was his job to protect the members, and he chose to take a different road and he got caught.”

According to court documents, Jones took the money at first to support his wife’s drug addiction in 2012. Those same documents note that Jones’ own alcohol and marijuana abuse spiraled into cocaine addiction in 2015.

“In 2012, Ryan made the decision to tap into union funds to maintain a lifestyle created by the interdependence on partying, drugs, and alcohol and continued through 2016,” reads a sentencing memorandum prepared by Jones’ lawyer.

Jones covered up his withdrawals with fraudulent monthly bank statements, and his actions were only discovered when new union leadership took office in 2017. Union officials launched an internal investigation and contacted the Department of Labor last spring.

“I’m very pleased he got unseated, because who knows how long he would have continued the act of theft if he hadn’t lost his (position),” said Keenan, who came into office in 2017.

Jones was charged with a Class C felony, which is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Jones was sentenced Monday morning by U.S. District Court Justice George Singal to 18 months in prison and three years of supervised release. He is ordered to surrender to begin his sentence on March 14.

While he ultimately said he respected the judge’s decision, Keenan expressed disappointment that Jones’ sentence wasn’t longer.

“We’re very pleased that Ryan will be serving time in jail for the theft of the members’ money,” said Keenan. “He probably didn’t get as much as we were all hoping he’d get.

“Certainly, 18 months seems a little light for the amount of infractions, I mean, we’re talking about 199 acts of theft,” he added. “What’s done is done, and we’re hoping to put this behind us now.”

The union has received full payment for the missing funds from a bond company. As part of the judge’s sentence, Jones will have to pay restitution for the $280,865 in embezzled funds.

Jones apologized for his actions and told Singal that he’s working on “being an honest man,” the Bangor Daily News reported.

“I’ve seen the darkest days I hope to see in my life,” Jones said. “I’ve lied to everybody in my life for a long time. I’m working on being an honest man today.”

The investigation was conducted by the Bath Police Department, the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Labor-Management Standards, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS contributed to this report.

nstrout@timesrecord.com

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