Ex-union leader in Houston guilty of embezzlement

January 19, 2012 10:10:28 AM PST
A former leader of an engineering organization in Houston has pleading guilty to spending union money on luxury trips and to remodel his house.

Prosecutors in Houston say 65-year-old Ronald Witt of Galveston pleaded guilty Thursday to conspiracy to embezzle union funds.

Sentencing has been set for April 23 for Witt, who faces up to five years in prison.

Investigators say Witt forged records while business manager of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 450, serving as the group's primary officer. The amount of embezzled money was not immediately released.

The investigation was prompted by the International Union of Operating Engineers, which took over the Houston local when Witt resigned in 2009.

Local 450, funded mainly by dues, represents about 1,000 members of the crane rigging and hoisting industry.