Ex-Detroit area union treasurer charged with theft

Oralandar Brand-Williams
The Detroit News

A 61-year-old Detroit woman has been charged with embezzling funds from the Metro Detroit AFL-CIO branch along with the Laborers International Hall of Fame, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy announced Tuesday.

Cathy Gail Long

According to Worthy, a July 2018 financial review of accounting records uncovered a series of "unauthorized payments" made to Cathy Gail Long over the years. In August 2018, representatives of the AFL-CIO and LIHOF reported the alleged embezzlement to the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office, which began investigating.

From March 2015 through July 2018, Long falsified an accounting computer program, forging names of authorized signers on checks and "manufacturing documents to give the appearance" of legitimate expenditures, the prosecutor alleges. 

Long allegedly embezzled close to $50,000, according to Worthy.

“The money trail always talks. It never ceases to amaze me the level of hubris that alleged embezzlers have,” the prosecutor said. “The evidence in this case will show that this trusted defendant continually helped herself to large portions of money that was not hers to steal.”

Long is charged with two counts of embezzlement by an agent or trustee-$20,000 or more, but less than $50,000, three counts of uttering and publishing, using a computer to commit a crime, and larceny of $20,000 or more. 

Long was arraigned Wednesday in 36th District Court. The formal reading of the complaint against her was waived at the request of her attorney, Marc Hart, and a not-guilty plea was entered on her behalf.

Long was given a $20,000 personal bond. Her next court date is 8:30 a.m. April 13 before Judge Kenneth King.

Metro Detroit AFL-CIO President Daryl Newman said the union "cooperated fully with the investigation that led to this arrest."

"When discrepancies were discovered in our financial records, the leadership at the time reported it to the authorities and immediately fired Ms. Long,” he said.  

“Since then, we have taken aggressive action to prevent anything like this from happening in the future. We have assigned three trustees to oversee the organization’s finances and have implemented quarterly and full annual audits," Newman said. "We are committed to being worthy stewards of union funds and we are working to secure the return of all funds lost in this breach of trust. Our members deserve no less.”

Efforts to reach the Laborers International Hall of Fame Tuesday were unsuccessful.