Ex-Detroit firefighters union treasurer sentenced for fraud

May 25, 2022 GMT

DETROIT (AP) — A former treasurer for a Detroit firefighters union has been sentenced to one year in federal prison after being convicted of embezzling more than $220,000 in union funds, some of which she spent on airline flights, hotels and ocean cruises.

The federal judge who sentenced Verdine Day, 62, on Tuesday also ordered her to pay more than $220,000 in restitution to the Detroit Fire Fighters Association.

Day was charged last September and later convicted of bank fraud, federal prosecutors said.

“Day’s embezzlement was particularly egregious because she stole from the first responders in our community,” U.S. Attorney Dawn Ison said in a statement.

Day was elected union treasurer in 2015 and she retired in 2019. The theft was discovered the next year when the union hired an outside firm to analyze the association’s finances.

During her four years as the union’s treasurer, prosecutors said Day fraudulently obtained nearly $168,000 in union funds through checks. She also used union credit cards to charge more than $49,000 in personal expenses, including for airline flights, hotels and about $9,000 and $9,500 on two Royal Caribbean cruises.

Day was hired by the Detroit Fire Department in 1986 and worked as a firefighter and engineer. She was the department’s first African American female fire engine driver and was named Detroit Woman Firefighter of the Year in April 2019.