LOS ANGELES – A former union president was sentenced today to 28 months in federal prison for abusing her leadership position to embezzle union funds – corrupt behavior that depleted the union’s bank accounts and led her to double the due paid by union members.
Aja Ann Jasmin, 42, of Glendora, was sentenced by United States District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald, who said she committed “a very serious crime” that required “a huge amount of planning and cunning.” Judge Fitzgerald also ordered Jasmin to pay $185,000 in restitution.
Jasmin, the former president of the International Chemical Workers Union Council Local 350C, pleaded guilty on February 11 to one count of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft.
From 2013 to August 2018, Jasmin used her position as union president to embezzle union funds by forging the signatures of other union officers on union checks to herself and by electronically transferring union funds to pay her credit card and other bills.
To hide her embezzlement, Jasmin falsified union bank account statements, so they showed greater balances than in fact remained. When the balances of the union bank accounts were insufficient to cover its checks, Jasmin falsely told the union’s members’ employer, Southern California Gas Co., that the union had voted to double the union dues it had to deduct from union members’ paychecks – from $21 to $42 per pay period – in order to replenish the union’s funds.
Jasmin also sought and obtained compensation from the union by falsely representing that time she spent on union business prevented her from getting her hourly wage at Southern California Gas Co. In fact, the union paid her for hours when she was also receiving pay while on disability leave.
In total, Jasmin defrauded her union out of approximately $190,000.
“[Jasmin] betrayed her fellow union members to enable her conspicuous consumption, which included an equestrian lifestyle, driving a Maserati, cosmetic medicine, and shopping at luxury retailers like Van Cleef & Arpels,” prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memorandum. “[She] tried to work as little as possible while collecting the most money, generally through fraud.”
The United States Department of Labor – Office of Labor-Management Standards, and the Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General investigated this matter.
Assistant United States Attorney Andrew Brown of the Major Frauds Section prosecuted this case.